Tag Archives: inspiration

When Heaven Answers






Have you ever just wanted the day to stop? For the clock to stop winding down and allow things to get caught up and back in order. Life has a way of getting out of control, creating anxiety and feelings of unfinished business. Many of my mornings start out that way before I get out of bed! Mornings are my most productive time. This morning I prayed… “God, please bless my brain.” Lord have mercy, I needed Him to speak to my Spirit and give me words not just for the blog, but I needed a message for myself. I needed the sun to stop before it even finished rising. I wanted to feel God’s power working in my life and as always, He moved and I felt it. I believe that God was faithful to provide a message for us both from the book of Joshua.

Joshua 10:12-13

12 Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.

13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.

14 And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel.

There was no day like it before, or will we see it in our time again, for it was written, this was one time deal that God took orders from a man.

A little back story is that an ally of Joshua’s was attacked by five other kings for being friends of Israel. By request Joshua and his army came to their aid and God promised victory, even killing more people by casting “great stones from heaven” upon the enemy than Israel killed with the sword. But as the day was finishing up, Joshua didn’t consider the job done. So, in front the witness of Israel, Joshua orders the sun and moon to stop… and it did.

Glory to God! I’ll bet that was a “mic drop moment” in Israel’s history.

I don’t believe God will be doing a repeat of that miracle today, but He is still in the miracle business.

A dear friend of mine who has long since gone to Heaven gave me a method of rest that has never failed me. I don’t abuse the privilege, but on nights when I need my rest, and the time has gotten away from me causing me to head to bed much later than I would have liked, I pray this prayer. “Lord, please give me a double portion of sleep.” I’m essentially asking for God to pack 8 hours into 4, or 10 into 5, whatever the case may be. And He does. Because that’s the God I serve. So Joshua’s request doesn’t take me by surprise or allow one doubt to enter my head that’s its true. It’s also backed up by scientific research!

On October 30th, 2017 Cambridge researchers announced that they had pinpointed the date of the biblical account of Joshua stopping the sun — which they claim is the day of the oldest eclipse ever recorded — to October 30, 1207 BCE, 3,224 years ago.

I didn’t need for Cambridge researchers to tell me it was true. God said it, therefore it was. But it’s nice to know they agree.

The story of Joshua gives me two points of pondering today:

  1. God heard Joshua and so did Israel.
  2. God helped Joshua and so did Israel.

In ear shot of Israel, Joshua stepped out on a limb and orders the sun and moon to stop, which can only be done by He who created them. I’m not that bold. But I can step out in faith in the things the Lord allows and so can you. But we first have to slow down and listen, which is why it’s so very important on Satan’s agenda to make my day and yours get crazy. I don’t need the Lord to stop the sun and moon… I need the Lord to stop me.

I need to listen to what the Lord has to say to me and speak that truth to others in the family of God. So that when it comes to fruition, God will be glorified!

I also need to enlist my brothers and sisters in Christ to become a part of the bigger picture that God allows to work in me so they too can experience the power of God at work in their lives as well.

Those days on the battlefield must have ended in the biggest celebration ever, or perhaps they ended it with a nap being that they had been up for 24 hours. But none the less it ended well and gloriously because Israel showed up and God showed out in a major way.

Today… I showed up at the key board. It wasn’t a battlefield, but it felt like one. I needed direction and God provided it for me. I pray that this scripture and these words encouraged you to understand that God has the victory already done, and whatever else needs accomplished, He’ll do that too. Slow down and listen, enlist your friends and let’s get some serious work done for the Kingdom’s glory!

Just Do Something!

Some mornings the start is rough. The older I get it seems the rougher it seems and our 54 degree morning here in West Virginia made this morning a little crunchier. The sky is clear and the sun is shining but my bones feel like mid-November. That’s enough whining… now I’ll get to the point of today’s very short message. Weep. Pray. Do Something!

That was my mindset this morning as I attempted to wrap my head around a thought as I read in 2 Chronicles again today, trying to finish up my Bible reading list. But my thoughts were going back to scripture in the days before when the Levites had to help the Priests out because there wasn’t enough of them to do the job. My heart breaks for the little country churches across America who don’t have willing leaders, or for some of them any leaders, but for most of them, worn out leaders!  I also have many friends with broken hearts for various reasons and my heart breaks too. As the tears fell down my cheeks this morning I was frustrated at my inability to fix “stuff” and people. And then the thought popped into my mind and the burden lifted from my heart.

“Weep. Pray. Do Something!”

In Psalm 126:5 David writes, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”

I was sowing tears in my Bible this morning and believing that God was going to turn the mourning hearts of friends into joy one day. Maybe not today. But today I could reap the joy in knowing that God had their lives in His hands and He was faithful to answer their prayers and mine. I just needed to do something. Even if it was cry. Sometimes that’s enough.

Psalm 56:8 says

Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?

On some days tears are enough. God obviously appreciates that effort, else why would He put our tears in a bottle and write it down in a book. He commemorates our weeping. That thought captured my attention.

On the days when I don’t think I’m doing anything, God takes note…

So I dried up my eyes. Sketched todays image. Wrote these few words to remind you and I both. “Just do Something.” Whatever it is, if it’s done for the Lord it’s a worthy effort.

I love you… I’m praying for those that read todays blog and asking God to help you understand what your ‘something’ is.

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!!!

Do You Know How Mighty You Are?

I have multiple vices in life that can get me distracted and off on an “Oooo that’s shiny” moment. The most recent one is Netflix. I’m not an avid television watcher, as a matter of fact I’ve gone months with very little television, until… it was be placed on a portable device that I can watch from any room in the house, has no commercials and I decide when I want to watch it. Netflix speaks my Attention Deficit Disorder language. I won’t watch just anything, I have a few set rules: it has to make me laugh or add a sense of adventure. I won’t watch sad or grotesque shows that make me cry or cause my stomach to roll over. Life is sad and gross enough. But throw a slap stick comedy on the screen or one of a super hero and I’m hooked like a fish on a line until the last episode is off the air. Hence why Netflix appeals to me, and gets me in trouble, you can binge watch every episode until it’s done! This is not a Netflix commercial, it’s a warning.

I said all that to say this, my latest run on superhero shows is the “Arrow.” A green hooded man who was done wrong, out to right the wrongs of the world with a few sidekicks thrown into the mix. As I watch in disbelief of their super strength and warrior tactics my eyes roll and I begin wondering how I can get sucked into this story line. This isn’t humanly possible. But then, as I read merrily along in 1 Chronicles 11 this morning on the historical truths of King David, I’m not watching Netflix but I’m reading the very truths I rolled my eyes at. But even to a greater degree of strength.

One man without the aid of special effects and stunt doubles killed 300 men in battle. Alone. No Robin to his Batman. No Kevlar. One man and his sword took down 300 warriors.

1 Chronicles 11:20

And Abishai the brother of Joab, he was chief of the three: for lifting up his spear against three hundred, he slew them, and had a name among the three.

That lead me to the question of the day, where are those people of valor today? Why have we allowed our nation to get in the position that it’s in today. Who told us we were weak?

I believe I can tell you where it started: When church became of little importance in the homes across America.

Oh… I know I’m preaching again! But I fully believe the reason we are weakened as a nation is because the comradery of the church was the backbone of America and it’s gone. It’s been a long time since anyone in the boundaries of America has had to fight a hand to hand battle for a piece of ground. But it’s beginning again. The church has lost so much ground, and fewer and fewer are on the battle ground of faith.

A few things those of us in church need to remember about this battle we’re in:

We are Mighty in Christ

(2 Corinthians 10:4). For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

Satan loves to make us believe that we don’t have the strength to fight this battle we’re in. And yet, through one man, in the weapons of the day, 300 men were slain. I haven’t even seen that on Netlix! And if I could, it’s still Hollywood. We have the genuine article of ability through the Word of God.

We are Mighty in the Word

Just like the men of David lived according to the word of God, so should the might men and women of Christ.

(1 Thessalonians 1:5) For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

The same word that changed our hearts has the power to change the heart of anyone on earth. And yet we doubt. Who are we to say that if we continue in His word, getting it out in our communities through face to face evangelism as well as using the technology at hand, we couldn’t each bring thousands into the fold of Christ? We’re not fighting with a spear, we’re fighting with the power of God!

We are Mighty in Unity

David didn’t have the biggest army, but he had the biggest victory, because his men were a unified body fighting together. One of the reasons I think unity scares many of the believers of Christ is because we hear unified and think “one world church.” And that church is coming, but that church has nothing to do with Christ. If your church believes that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life, and the one and only way to Heaven is through His blood that made the sacrifice for all mankind, then you shouldn’t care what’s over the door of those who believe in the same like manner. You can disagree on a few of their ideas of worship styles and church rules, but we can all agree on Jesus. And through that belief work in unity to bring souls to Christ.

On my next superhero show, I think I view their tactics a little closer. Possibly consider buying a cape. Just kidding. Maybe.

 

 

 

A Word to the Frustrated Believer

In general, I stay more frustrated with myself than with others among the church. But I must confess that I too can grow weary of people.  For some strange reason the Mac Davis song, “Oh Lord it’s hard to be Humble,” is now playing in my mind. If you know the song, you remember the next line “when you’re perfect in every way.” Now, in the words of the Apostle Paul, “I beseech you,” meaning I beg of you, to understand I’m as far from perfect as the pendulum swings! But human nature being what it is causes my mind to focus on the errored way of others, and when I do I am brought to a message like this in 2 Corinthians 10.

It comforts me to know that even the great Paul had to talk his way through the frustrations of dealing with stupid people.

2 Corinthian ds 10:1-2

Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.

Remember Humility

Paul said that he was base (the lowest) among us. How could that be?  A man who was beaten and imprisoned for preaching the gospel and died a martyr for the faith. How is it that he would say that he is less than anyone else? Because he remembered humility. It’s a character trait of those who are most used by God.

Paul’s past, pre,-salvation was spent having Christians murdered for the same faith that he now defended. That no doubt weighed heavy on his heart. And though it was under the blood of Christ, it would not have prevented Satan from using it as a tool of discouragement in Paul’s ministry. Satan doesn’t have any new tricks, he doesn’t need them. He always has plenty of ammunition in the line of guilt in my life even after salvation. I can either allow him to tear me apart, or I can face the world in humility as the Apostle Paul did, knowing that I am a sinner saved by grace. It’s in that humility that I’ll learn to extend grace and mercy to those who frustrate me.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Avoid High-mindedness

Paul said to cast down every “high” thing that puts itself above God. I think of that as those self-righteous moments of mankind when we look upon the faults of others and forget our own. Oh, the saints of God love calling out sin, so long as nobody opens their closet doors.

It is so easy for me to look at someone else’s life and assume that they should have known better, or that no excuse was worthy of the transgression they committed, but justify my own blunders. Paul lay a reminder before us that that kind of high-thinking is detrimental to the children of God. It makes someone feel less and someone feel more and that is not the way Christ did it. Christ never justified sin, nor did He execute the sinner.

2 Corinthians 10:6-8

And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? if any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s. For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:

Understand it’s a Matter of the Heart

When we’ve been hurt, or we’re in disagreement with someone else, it would do us well if we’d consider the heart of the matter. While my weakness may not be yours or vice versa, we cannot say for certain that we understand every underlying condition that created our frustration. I only have to recall an issue that I had with a person who seemed arrogant and prideful. My frustration with them grew to the point that I’d cringe when I’d hear their voice in the distance. They later became one of my best friends and what I discovered was that the arrogance and pride was a shield that they placed before them so that people couldn’t see the insecurity and lack of self-confidence that they garnered inside. Once I understood that about them, my frustration quickly turned to compassion and the realization that everything wasn’t always what it seemed.

Paul could have boasted in his authority with God and his wisdom of men. He was right. But he chose rather to look on others with compassion and allow the love of Christ to be exhibited rather than the pride of man.

I’ve learned that most people eventually realize the error of their ways, or I recognize mine. And when they don’t I need to leave them with Christ and move on to matters I can control.

Placing it in Christ’s hands in indeed the cure of the frustrated believer.

If you’re in the valley, take heart

As the summer winds down in West Virginia, the nights are getting cooler and the days are filled with crisp air and falling leaves. A drive through the hills and valleys is filled with the splendid colors of fall and you can almost smell the pumpkin pie in the oven. I love this time of year! It’s a time of refreshing of the soul as the hustle and bustle of summer lends itself now to rest and a slower pace. At least until Christmas!

This morning I’m in Psalm 84, a Psalm said to have been written by David during the time his son had forced him out of his city, a Psalm that anyone who has been away from a place they longed to be in could understand. Perhaps it’s not a place you long to be in but rather a state of being you long to be in. That is more along the lines of where I am this morning. I long for a time of rest and not a constant battle to survive. Hmm… that may sound a bit dramatic, but it’s none the less true. And the places of refuge I find is in the word and house of God, so Psalm 84 encourages me this morning as I glean the understanding of the place David was in.

Psalm 84:6

Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.

According to bible scholars, the valley of Baca was a part of the desert country filled with many risks and dangers and it lead up to the city of Jerusalem where the house of God was located. Along the way there were wells of water that were apparently far apart and not easy to get to. It was a hard, suffering way to travel which is why the Valley of Baca literally means “Valley of weeping.” Those wells would have been a welcome sight as David fought his way back to his beloved Jerusalem.

During any struggle in life, time in the word of God is that refreshment between the times we’re in church. Church is a soul filling station, but for every day away the journey of life can become consumed with thorns and cares, and although few of us have to fight wild beasts, there are some pretty scary times to be faced, which can feel like something has its teeth in us that’s not about to let go.

David’s Psalm 84 has him longing to return to the house of God. Verses 1-2 says How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.

But he couldn’t get there. And for much of our week there’s not a service to be attended until Wednesday and Sundays, so on the other days it’s so good to know that there is a soul filling station a hand breadth away in the Word of God.

As David traveled that rough terrain, a well was a welcome sight.  But take note that the spring of water didn’t just appear, when David was passing through he had to “make the well.” In our pursuit of God while traveling a rough terrain, the well that satisfies our soul may not just spring forth for a ready drink. We may have to dig a while. But that too is a welcome distraction away from the cares around us.

As always I have a long to do list and a performance at the end of the day. It was good to stop by the well location this morning and dig a little in the word of God.

I love the McKamey song that says

“Life is easy, when you’re up on the mountain, you’ve got peace of mind when life’s at it’s best

But it’s down in the valleys of trials and temptations, that’s when life’s really put to the test,

For the God of the mountain is still God of the valley, the God of the day, is still God of the night!”

Glory, if I had shoes I kick’em off. (that’s what mama McKamey would do at a performance when she’d get in the spirit!”)

I sincerely hope you’re having a mountain top day, but if you’re in the valley, take heart. There’s a well ahead. Dig…

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!

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.

Were it not for the Place of Grace

7jan17

I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.~ Jeremiah 17:10

A thorough searching of my heart on any given day will lead me to an awareness of the rebellion that resides there. The old adage “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink,” comes to mind; and you can lead a girl to scripture but you can’t make her apply it. In my *pursuit of God, He’s had to drag me through the book of Jeremiah at times. It’s depressing to hear of the state of Israel, God’s disdain and Jeremiah’s pleading. But there amidst all that frustration are nuggets of pure gold that even a rebellious spirited gal like me can latch onto and say, “God, I’m so glad you brought me down this path.” If I allow myself to be lead, rather than pulling back God takes me to the place of blessing.

Jeremiah 17:7 says :

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.”

Jeremiah was at his wits end with Israel, yet even still he could see the blessing of being in the place of fellowship with God. We cannot control those around us, believe me I’ve tried. And it is enough that I have my own life’s garden to keep the crap out of.

Apostle Paul said it best in Philippians 3:8 when he said, “Yeah doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.”

Paul had tried to live by the law, and for the most part he was very good at it. He’d tried to inforce the law on others, and he made quite an impact there to. But no matter what he did, until grace came into place in his life, all his work was nothing. He said it was like dung… aka crap. He’d pulled and pulled against the reins, he’d had others pull against his reins, but there came a day when God took the reins and Paul was no longer in control.

Praise God for grace! Even on days like today when I’m ready to kill people. When like Jeremiah I’ve prayed God’s judgement would reign down on someone, I’ve heard… be grateful for your own grace Shari, you need it too. Stop pulling on the reins… just let me lead you to the water to drink. And then we’ll see where this journey goes from there.

All Aboard! 2017 Is Just Ahead

2017-trainI struggled a few days in searching for my 2017 word. I wanted it just right! I wanted something that would cause my mind to go into motion, and in a positive direction when I heard the word. I pondered the word “potential” for a few days and I looked strongly at the word “purpose.” Both of which are mighty fine words and I still consider them to be sub points. But when pursuit came into my head it stirred up the imagery of chasing God’s plan, seeking His will in the direction of my life. Most of the time in scripture, if not all the time, pursuit is used in the form of “pursuing the enemy, as to overtake them.” I’ve felt like that’s been me for the most of my life, with my focus being on my enemy’s pursuit of me. Feeling I was about to be overcome; always on the brink of destruction. That’s a frustrating life to lead. It always wears me out!

So for 2017 I’m pursuing God. And the great thing about that is He’s pursuing me back! He’s not running from me, He’s running toward me. The pursuit is in seeking the next step of God’s plan.

Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; Which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched as tow. Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:16-19 KJV

That new thing! That’s what I’m pursuing. Isaiah spoke to Israel about the flight out of Egypt, a time that they were being pursued and God drowned the enemy in the sea. For me, I want the enemy drowned in the sea of forgetfulness never to rise again or be remembered. 2017 is unchartered territories, it may be wilderness, rivers or dessert. But God will make the way if I seek His will for my life.

I’m in pursuit of purpose to reach my full potential in the Lord Jesus Christ. He, Who pursued me through the Holy Spirit, He Who erased my past and cast my sins as far as the east is from the west.

Pursuit doesn’t have to be your word for the year for it to be your plan action. I found the following quote in a recent study that said “Allowing God’s plan shouldn’t create more pressure, but rather lessen the burden to figure things out.”  I love that! If I stop looking backward, or steering forward, the pressure is off me for direction. Pursuing will hopefully look more like train ride. I just need to get on board and let the Engineer do the work. When it comes to a stop; get out, do the job at hand and then get back on board for the next adventure.

All aboard! 2017 is just ahead!