Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

It is the Power of God

I feel foolish a lot. There are days that every dream and imagination I’ve had seems like the dumbest ideas ever. True story. Not an exaggeration. But the one solid foundational belief within me is that the cross made all the difference in my life, and when the rest of my world falls apart the cross still stands.

This morning I needed that truth. I guess I need it every day, but today more than ever. I don’t want to give credit where it’s not due; and there are times that I’m pretty sure it’s me attacking my mind and not Satan. My self-doubt is running haywire today. So I turn to the one sure thing in my life. The cross.

The world may view it as foolishness but my work in the ministry I’ve never doubted. I’ve never doubted my purpose in that place because I always stand in amazement at what God has done in my life and it’s all because of the cross.

The Cross brought Communication

I love the image of the veil being rent from top to bottom (Luke 23:45)

And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

 As Jesus “gave up the ghost” and the work was finished on the cross, the final price was paid so that we could have a relationship with God. So that I could talk to the Creator. I have no need to go through a priest. The High Priest is at the right hand of God saying “that child is mine, she can approach the throne any time she needs.”

I have never been turned away.

The Cross brought Comfort

John 14:26

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

When the world says I’m foolish, the Holy Spirit say, “You’re fine.”

That comfort that comes from within cannot be explained, it can only be experienced. It’s heartbreaking to think of the world who does not have it because I know what it’s meant for me to have the indwelling of God. Especially on days like today.

Please don’t think that I’m asking for sympathy or a pat on the back for what I do. I’m just sharing with you what you too have probably experienced. Doubt is a powerful tool. It’s the avenue of quitters and I have a hard time not traveling down that road.

The Cross Brought Compassion

It’s what keeps me going. I know the world needs to see more of it. It’s the reason I can kick doubt out of the way and keep on keeping on; because I have compassion for the people of God who need words and images of encouragement. I don’t know what the future holds for the Jesus Chick, but as the song says “I know Who Holds” it.

With the Easter season upon us and the many worldly images of the season, it’s good to have a reminder set before us. God created the bunnies and the chicks, but He communes with this chick, and I am so grateful for the cross that made it possible.

An Unusual Thanksgiving Message

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

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

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

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

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

Ephesians 6:12  says

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Win your battle, Thank Him today!!!!

Social Media Saints

I am guilty of only posting the pretty pictures. I don’t post the countless times I wad up a disfigured Jesus Chick or other images that don’t measure up. If someone takes a picture of my bad side, which can actually be any side that I don’t deem myself “pretty” I don’t post it and I’m quick to delete it off my phone before someone accidently on purpose stumbles across it. Are not our lives much the same way?

We let people see the “pretty” side of our selves. The one who is made up and picture perfect on Sunday morning, but what about the one that breaks down into tears on Monday because their world just ain’t right? Oh… that one.

No, nobody needs to see that, right?

Yesterday as I loaded yet another load of laundry for two obviously very dirty people into the dryer I felt a knot in my throat and tears well up in my soul. There was no reason. Other than I just felt overwhelmed.

I quickly sucked it up, started a new load of laundry and told myself, you don’t have time for that.

This morning as I loaded the dishwasher, for obviously very hungry people, the Spirit spoke to me and said, “just be real.”

I scroll through the countless images of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Listen to the ranting of crazy people and realize that there doesn’t seem to be a happy medium. There’s either the beautiful, seemingly perfect families or the nutcases.

I sing this song at the Long Term Care on Monday’s that the residents just love. I didn’t add it to my repertoire for a couple of years for fear it would offend. It’s called “Who do you think you’re foolin” by Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers. When I played the last note yesterday, the little old lady behind me yelled, “We need more like that!”

I realized then, and again this morning that people want the truth, not just the pretty images of Christianity. They need to hear that all of us have moments of sorrow, confusion and days that we too would be nutcases if we weren’t Spirit controlled preventing us from publishing that nutcase rant of reality.

Isaiah 57:15

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Two quick points to ponder before you post today.

The Sprit of the Humble

I love humble people. People who don’t lift themselves above others but realize that we are at best sinners saved by grace. There is also a humility we all tend to ignore and avoid whenever possible, and that is the humility of allowing people to see the brokenness within us. That life hurts sometimes.

I’m always careful to buy waterproof mascara for fear of the black clown face that can occur when that spirit of humility takes over. I waterproof my social media post too. But what we miss when we do this the spirit of revival. God will revive the spirit of the humble… not the proud.

The Heart of the Contrite

To have a contrite spirit is to be crushed and broken. Hello? My thinking is the only people who want the world to see that is the nutcase “ranters” who make me shake my head.

My thinking is wrong.

There has to be a happy medium and I see it once in a while. When someone just gets real for the sake of encouraging others. In that process they do not drag someone else into their post, it’s about their relationship with God, not man. God uses broken vessels to let the water of life pour out for others to drink and have their souls revived as well.

After my open heart surgery my water intake was extremely limited. Prior to that I didn’t even like water, but suddenly I craved it, and still do. Their denial of that life giving substance, though it was for my own good, caused me to desire it more.

The more dry and broken we become the greater desire we have to be revived. But you can ignore it until it becomes the norm. Oh… how often I’ve seen that across the churches of America. They only want the pretty Sunday’s, not the ones where broken people get revived and give control to the Spirit of God. It is then that rantings are replaced with the testimonies of broken people being healed, tears flow and God is welcomed into that place and He shows up in a mighty way.

Do we want that?

I don’t want people to air dirty laundry on social media, but it would be good if people shared  a trial and how God brought them through. We all have struggles. People need to see they can have victory too.

Share yours today!

Twenty Minutes Late for God

Bible Journaling Art by The Jesus Chick – Shari Johnson

It’s not my nature to be late for anything. I struggle with it. It’s as if to say if I arrive on time for everything in my life, all is obviously right in my world. Right? Wrong. Very wrong. But I can at least pretend for that day of punctuality that I’m okay.

So for this entire week, I’ve awoken at 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. multiple days. I hear the Holy Spirit speak, “Get up, I have something to say to you.” And rather than get up, I would lie in bed awake, in frustration with my body that loved the feeling of the covers against my skin and drift in and out of sleep; only to wake up a few hours later feeling as if I’d been beaten, with every joint in my body aching. So this morning at 3 a.m. when I heard to Holy Spirit speak again, I snuggled back beneath the covers, had a nutty dream and heard Him speak again at 5. Just like the past week every day. So at 5 a.m. I determined to get up and listen. But by the time I rallied myself up and made it to the kitchen it was 5:20.

Twenty minutes late for God…

That too is my nature. I’m not late for the world, but I’m late for divine appointments on a consistent basis and for multiple reasons and excuses.

Twice this week, two different very close friends ask me how I “really was.” They ask me hard questions that examined me like a spiritual physician and I knew they were warnings from God that I once again needed to slow myself down and take some pressure off. Doggone those people who love you.

Did I listen? I tried. But life has a way of getting you to the point that you’re 20 minutes late for an appointment with God. And that’s not good. Nobody makes God wait without consequences.

My mind went to Jonah, and his very own book. A look into the life of a man who tried to make God wait. But God didn’t lead me to that scripture, He lead me to Luke, chapter 12.

12:35-36

Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning. And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding: that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.”

IN HIS PRESENCE

The scripture refers to the return of Jesus Christ, when He comes to call His church home. But it could just as easily refer to any time the Lord knocks and requests us in His presence. Like 3 a.m. wake up calls.

BY HIS PETITION    

12:37

Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: very I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.

My mind is humbled at the very thought that the Lord would serve me. And yet He does when He speaks to my soul and ministers to my broken spirit. He’d had sent angels of mercy in the form of friends who gently warned… “Rest.”

He Himself had not tried to wake me to steal my rest, but rather give me rest through His word. And yet I refused to listen but rather drift back into a restless sleep. Until today. And though I was twenty minutes late, He was still right on time to give me the message that I needed to hear to calm my troubled heart.

FOR MY PORTION

12:42-43

And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

I weep in the wisdom that the Lord provides my portion in due season. Which often time comes later because I didn’t answer the door when He was prepared to make the delivery.

It came late this week because I kept failing to answer the door. I studied this week out of necessity of teaching opportunities. Not for personal portions. It’s like savoring the goodness of someone else’s plate as you deliver it to their table. Never experiencing the food for yourself. I wonder how many Pastor’s experience that.

This morning the Lord and I dined over frosted mini wheats and coffee and the word of God. It tasted so good! And the mini wheats were pretty tasty too.

A lesson in life from the Jesus Chick… when God knocks, open yourself to opportunity.

What’s so special about a tent?

If you’ve never been a part of a tent meeting atmosphere you may wonder why I get so excited for this time of year. And whether or not I can adequately express what makes a tent meeting so special, only the end of today’s blog will tell. But I’ll attempt to stir your heart with the emotion I’m experiencing today.

Hebrews 9:1 begins speaking of

A worldly sanctuary

Then verily the first covenant had also ordinance of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.

The first tabernacle was a movable man made temple with caretakers, priests and a high priest that he only could go into that Holy of Holiest places to make sacrifice for his sins and that of the congregation of the Lord. Though it was a temporary tabernacle, the grandness of it didn’t suffer, and I seriously doubt it was as easy as the tents we pitch today. It had layer upon layer of materials that God had laid out by design and great detail, and given to Moses. The tent then followed the children of Israel. Our tent is not of great detail, it was crafted by an Amish man in Ohio of red, white and blue vinyl to remind us of the Nation we call home and our burden to turn it back to God. We don’t have golden candlesticks, the Ark of the Covenant or the shew bread. We have the light of Jesus Christ that shines in the heart of the saved, the covenant promise of eternal life in Christ and the Word of God that fills our souls! That is what lies within the tent of Victory Baptist Church!

The way of the wilderness

Hebrews 9:8 ~ The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

The children of Israel could not imagine the privilege to come to us, though they were the symbolism of God’s plan for salvation. But they couldn’t even go into the tent! What a privilege to have the Holy Spirit dwell within us and regardless of whether we are inside the tent, out in the sun around it (though it’s calling for rain tonight) or experiencing the tent meeting via Facebook live, we are in the presence of God! The first tent meeting was a matter of necessity for wilderness wanderers. Our tent meeting is a reminder of the days of old when revival crossed America and a desire to bring that back to world caught up in the wilderness again.

A way from dead works

Hebrews 9:11-14 ~  But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

The children of Israel attempted and failed again and again to keep the works of the law. Glory to God that once and for all, through the blood of Christ we were released from that bondage and are now free to serve the Living God! There’s still plenty of bondage in the world around us, but nothing that Jesus Christ cannot free us from.

However, tent meeting is also a time for the church to remember that one of the bondages that is so easy for a child of God to fall into is the bondage of dead religion. Churches everywhere fall into apathy of religion rather than the awe of the Almighty! We forget the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit is expected to take a back seat until the service is over, lest we disrupt service.

This ought not to be. There is nothing traditional about a tent! And there shouldn’t be anything traditional about the service of God, whether in a building or in a tent. The Holy Spirit of God was so awesome in the days of the children of Israel that they stood outside the tent in awe and fear of His presence. That same Spirit is within us, how dare we take it for granted and treat Him as though He is not Amazing!

That is how I want to approach this tent meeting tonight. I want to be prepared in godly fear and awe to expect the Spirit of God to show up in my life in such a way that I cannot help but feel like the children who experienced the first tent meeting! Glory!!!

It’s an Issue of the Mouth

Such truth in the word of God! That which everyone in the world says they want.  We want a government that speaks truth, a church that speaks truth, spouses and other family that speak truth, our employers to speak truth, but when it comes to the word of God, the world would rather not hear it, even though there is not one word, jot or tittle that is not absolute truth. I would be a liar if I told you that every word that comes from the Bible brings great joy to my soul. No, there are many, many words in the Bible that grieve my spirit and heap conviction upon my heart because that’s what truth does. But I read it and weigh it against my life so that I may draw closer to Christ. And if it grieves me that’s okay… because I grieve the Spirit of God on more than one occasion on any given day.

Ephesians 4:30 says “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”

Sealed. Just like the tomb for which Jesus was laid and rose from again the third day, we have had a seal placed upon us, that as a child of God we too will be raised again in the newness of life for eternity where there will be nothing but truth, and we’ll live with Him who is truth. But until that day, we live with liars. Often times our biggest issue is with the one in the mirror that doesn’t want to face the reality of truth that comes from the word of God. That would be me.

When you read Ephesians 4:30, you like I may shout, “Yeah, stop hurting God’s feelings you bunch of scoundrels!” But if you read the verses preceding and following it, which describe what grieves God’s spirit, you might just discover it’s you.

Ephesians 4:20-32

20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil. 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

  1. Lying
  2. Anger
  3. Stealing
  4. Corrupt communication
  5. Bitterness
  6. Wrath
  7. Anger
  8. Clamor (outcry)
  9. Evil speaking

I consider 8 of the 9 issues of the mouth. Each of those, with the exception of stealing, usually have words associated with them and most people in the world are guilty of most if not all in some form. When James said in the book of James 3:8: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”  He knew of what he spoke.

We tell children “if you don’t have anything kind to say, say nothing at all.” But tune into most adult conversations and they are filled with gossip, judgment and anger.

This morning I caught myself in one of those conversations where I was ashamed that the words came out of my mouth. There was a person that was hurt physically by someone and I said to David, “It’s no surprise to me someone smacked him, most people want to kill him.”  What an un-compassionate knot-head I was! That surely grieved the Spirit of God. And I thought nothing of the statement until it left my lips and then I realized that person was God’s creation. How dare I speak evil of them. And then I thought back to many conversations I had had this week. Many were good, God glorifying conversations. But each of those could have been undone by someone hearing other conversations.

I have an issue of the mouth. Praise God it was covered by the blood. But I am still without excuse for hurting and grieving, my Father. He who blesses my soul beyond measure…

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For more information about scheduling me to speak or sing, or other questions, call me at 304-377-6036. Please! Leave a message if I don’t answer (Unknown numbers are too often telemarketers for which I don’t want to contend with so I just don’t answer) But if you’re not one of them… I want to hear from you and will gladly return your call.

Getting the Spirit Back Where He Belongs

I refuse to be a judger of men when it comes to how other people and churches conduct themselves in services. I will only stand before God for the manner in how I conducted myself, and how I, as a leader, lead others. A lesson King David learned when he attempted to bring the Ark home from Kirjath-jearem. Uzzah lost his life because of David’s error in leadership. Uzzah was a Levite, but not a priest, who had been ordered to carry the Ark. One stumble of the oxen, one touch to the hallowed property of God and a man was dead. God takes order serious. (1 Chronicles 13)

Now I realize we’re not in Old Testament times, we no longer live by the law, but when I looked at the original church (Israel) it reminded me very much of the mega churches of today that so many people are critical of. I have to wonder if they’d be so critical of a mega church if it were theirs? But back to my point: be it mega or a little country church up the hollow, God still expects order.

David finally caught onto that the second time he brought up the Ark when he said in 1 Chronicles 15:13, “For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order.”

So the order was fulfilled and the Ark and the presence of God was back where it belonged! Is that not what we want in our churches? The presence of Almighty God! Certainly it doesn’t require an Ark, but I still think it requires order.

The presence of God is carried within each child of God. What Uzzah couldn’t touch, because of the blood of Jesus, we are allowed to carry. My how things have changed.

Titles have changed within the church; we no longer have Priests but Pastors, Bishops, preachers, teachers, deacons, trustees and others who are put into place to hold order inside the church. The New Testament is clear about the order of the church (1 Tim. 3:1-12) with Christ always as the Head of the church. And those things will often be in line (for the most part) and yet the Spirit of God will not be felt. Then other churches will not have all things in line, and yet the Spirit of God will be felt. What’s the deal?

That was my question to God this morning?

Then like a brick off the brick yard being hurled at my mind an answer came.
“I’m no longer in the box. So stop putting Me there.”

God, through the sacrifice of His Son has made Himself personally touchable to everyone who has accepted Him as Lord. The problem is, those who carry Him into the church, don’t touch Him. They don’t stir up the Spirit within, they just let Him sit there inside of them, waiting for church to be over, all the while the Spirit cries “I want to be loosed!” And it is those who find criticism for the wild behaviors in mega churches, which I too believe may cross a line not intended by God. So who’s right and who’s wrong? I’ll let God decide.

I do however know in my heart that God intended for no man to take the Spirit of God for granted. When David returned with the Ark, there was music, dancing, instruments and shouting and it upset Michal, David’s wife. There will likely always be someone who “doesn’t get it.” It didn’t stop David and it shouldn’t stop us.

God’s mega church of the Old Testament had order. It had leadership and small groups, and all things had honor and respect for God. God is still every bit as Holy today as He was then, the only difference is we are granted far greater access as commoners by the cross. How we treat Him matters and the world needs to see a difference in how we approach Him and how we react when we get there. Less He be considered no different than the gods of this world.

Just Keep Going

I have a tendency to be a little over the top. And if you know me you likely just rolled your eyes and said “A little?” To that I say “Shush.” I’m not likely to change. There’s a reason I’m over the top. I have had enough dead religion to last me a lifetime. If you’re not a shouter… I’m okay with that. If you don’t like to lift your hands, I’m okay with that too. I just happen to be both, and I love being with likeminded people. And to that God has always been so faithful to place them in my midst. But occasionally I meet a Hoover. I try to stay clear of them-, but deed, sometimes it’s impossible. That illustration came from a sermon I heard David Gibbs preach last week. I haven’t been able to shake it, and it makes me giggle! And then it makes me nauseous. I just have to tell myself “Just keep going, Shari.”

Ephesians 4:29 reminds us not to be a Hoover –  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

And it’s on days like that that I turn to the Word. I’m not above being wrong. I want to back up what I believe with the Word of God.       So should you! Don’t take man’s word for anything. Humanity leaves room for error.

We Have Assurance

Ephesians 3: 9-12 – And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

We should be bold with confidence, not dead with insecurity or religion. Religion says “Don’t make waves.” Confidence says “Stir up the water!” We have the wisdom that man has searched for from the beginning of time. We have the power from Heavenly places that the world tries to imitate. What we have is the real deal. Why would we not be excited!

We Have Approval

1 John 2:28 – And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

I highly doubt that when Jesus splits open the skies and calls His church home, we’ll be indifferent. Glory to God! We have confidence that He’s returning but do we have His approval on how we’re waiting? If He would walk into your church on Sunday morning, would He even feel welcome? If He sat behind you in the pew would He find you paying attention to the message or surfing your messages on your phone? If the Spirit started moving in your heart would you raise your hand or would you raise an eyebrow at those who do? If someone shouted would it be you, or would you jump out of your skin because you weren’t prepared for anyone to get excited. If Heaven forbid someone choo choo’d around the church would you call it fake or would you fall in behind? If I have to explain choo choo, you may not get any of this paragraph.

I am confident that God’s okay with excited Christianity.

We Have Answers

Because the world would love to make me think I’m crazy for being so excited about Jesus, and because there are days I feel crazy. I am elated that I have a solid foundation in the Word of God to turn to.

1 John 5:14 – And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

And so I ask. Again and again I ask. Every time some Hoover Christian leads me to believe I’m wrong.

Psalm 98:4 – Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise and rejoice, and sing praise.

Psalm 47:1 – O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.

Luke 17:15And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,

Psalm 134:2Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord.

Need I go on? The world is so stinkin’ loud. How can they possibly hear the whispers of a child of God. When we listen to God, we should be still. When we feel God move, it should move us.

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This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

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Washed in Mercy

wash

Titus 3:5

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

We are blessed to live in a nation where clean water is readily available to most, and it is for certain something that we take for granted. I was in the Philippines to sing at a conference about 11 years ago and my first shower in a home in the Philippines, which did have running water, but to shower there was a plastic cup that hung on the wall from a cold water only tap. You realize how very spoiled you are. It’s that spoiling that causes us to miss the blessings of salvation.

I want stuff. And the Lord says “You have stuff, you need Me.” I need more of the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. This morning I was whining to the Lord about wanting something for my husband. He works so hard, he asks for so little. So when something comes up that he’d like, it hurts me that it’s not within his grasp. And while the Lord didn’t mind that I was whining for someone else for a change, it brought me back to that spigot in the wall, and a pipe sticking up out of the floor that was the toilet, and how blessed I was to be there. Because there in that city where many of the people had nothing materialistic in comparison to me, they had what I longed for and it cost nothing… the Presence of God.

While salvation was instantaneous upon the confession of Jesus Christ as Lord, my relationship with God is dependent on the time I spend in His Word and in His presence. As a friend once said “The Word of God is a spiritual warsh cloth.”

“Warsh” is the word “wash” spelled as he pronounced it. That’s an important piece of his story because he was raised poor and when he became wealthy, he didn’t forget where he came from. He glorified God and kept his humility.

When Paul wrote to Titus in chapter 3 he reminded him not to “get above his raisin.” Not to forget where he came from. The presence of God in our life, through the preaching and reading of His word is a cleansing. As I read the word this morning I was not only reminded that I can live better, but I was reminded of the fact that I can’t live good enough when it comes to obtaining the presence of God in my life. That only comes by and through His grace and mercy. I can’t earn stuff with God and I cannot earn His unmerited favor.

Praise God for that regeneration (the spiritual change) within me that gave me a new life, a new hope, and leaves my soul as clean as newborn baby in the eyes of God. Oh… I struggle. I fall and fail and muddy myself with the world around me. But He is faithful to scrub me back up!  Hallelujah!

Not Listening is Dangerous!

chick feast

So I find the story in the book of Samuel, chapter 13 of the character of Saul. Saul, an ordinary, (though tall) fella, who God has given a job. And not just any job! The job of being the very first King of Israel.

Once Saul took office he had called up 3,000 men; 2000 of which were under his leadership and 1,000 under the leadership of his son Jonathan.  Not long after this, his son Jonathan killed a garrison (a troop) of Philistines and their people were upset. Upset enough to get 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen together to attack Israel.

This was Saul’s first big test of leadership. But he only had 3,000 people. So Israel ran and hid in their tents and caves and bushes, anywhere they could because they were sure they were just about to get slaughtered.

Saul is in Gilgal, where Samuel, the man of God had told him to wait for seven days and he’d be there to offer a sacrifice. They’d have a prayer meeting before the battle, always a good idea!

But Samuel doesn’t come at the hour that Saul expected. So Saul does something really stupid and takes matters in his own hands. (I have worn that shirt too many times to count!)

1 Samuel 13:9-10

And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him.

Saul was excited to see Samuel… For a minute. Until he realized that Samuel wasn’t any too happy that Saul had done a job that God had appointed him to do.

Saul’s job was King. Samuel’s job was sacrifice.

As I’m reading this, as I often do, my mind is in other places. “God, over and over again I ask Your plan, and over and over again I think I have direction and then, life just doesn’t work. What now?” And in between my reading, talking, writing and Attention Deficit Disorder living I can almost feel God roll His eyes at me again.

And then it happens. I whine. “Seven years, I’ve been here waiting. Seven years!  (as if God didn’t hear me the first time) In 2010, God in no uncertain terms said. “Quit your job, and serve me.”

And I just couldn’t see how it would work. So I’ve been hired, fired, wired and tired for seven years. Not in a good place. I’ve doubted myself. Others have doubted my calling, I’ve worked for nasty people and nice people and although I’m a little further down the road, I don’t feel that I’m very far. Again and again, I’ve tried to go back into the secular world of work, and it won’t happen.

But right at this point of whining I almost feel a Gibbs slap to the back of the head. (NCIS television show terminology there.) And God saying did you even listen to what you read? For seven days Saul waited for Samuel and then decided to take things into his own hands and because of that he lost it all. Seven days, or seven years, it doesn’t matter. I have to be the one controlling your life, else this is not going to work. Those jobs you’re applying for belong to someone else, stop trying to do them.

So that was His message for me today… I have a job. It’s to wait on God.

Saul lost the kingdom and he lost the peace of God. That’s how King David came into the picture as the second King of Israel, because he could play and sing for Saul and speak peace to his soul. There’s power in what I do. Although I don’t write like David, and I’m not the skilled musician he obviously was, it’s the job that God has given me. I need to stop trying to take someone else’s.

So to cap this story off, with something funny to tell, not funny to live… This past Sunday, someone on the music schedule wasn’t able to sing and they ask me to fill in on the fly. So I think, no prob! I’m trying to obey God and do what He’s ask so I take my guitar to church and I’m going to wow them with my singin’ and playin’. I couldn’t hit a chord to save my soul! Praise God, Jesus had already saved it. So I whine again… but God, You said if I did it, I’d be okay. He said, “I didn’t say it would be easy.” To which my response was “Did it have to be so dog gone embarrassing?”

I think God likes His people humble. And He knows my heart, I’m always trying to do it the short cut way. There’s not shortcut to God’s design.

I don’t have time to tell you of the blessings God has put in my path to make these things happen. People, instruments, tools of the trade of writing. God has a plan for each one of us and I believe if we listen it is clear ~ and not listening is dangerous! So listen the first time. It’ll go way easier for you! #ExperiencedFailure #GodLovesMeThisIknow