Tag Archives: Paul

Strange but much needed encouragement

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

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

I kid you not.

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

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

Encouragment defined is:

en·cour·age·ment

/inˈkərijmənt,enˈkərijmənt/

noun

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

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

The Help of Hope

1 Corinthians 15:19

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

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

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

The Passion of Persuasion

Acts 26:28

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

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

Acts 26: 21-26

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

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

Have courage! Share Him today.

The Beauty of Belief

Romans 10:15

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

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

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

What’s your ilities and what are you doing with them today?

ilitiesA quick message and words of encouragement from a friend last night brought to mind a much needed attitude of gratitude for the salvation I have in Jesus Christ and the peace He alone affords His children. Life is harsh, I have on every side of me friends and family suffering. I have issues of my own, we all do! And yet I have this responsibility that comes with accountability but praise God for the ability to use all those “ilities” in the ministry. Ilities is not a word… so if I drive you grammar checkers crazy I’m sorry. But Ilities should be word. The definition of “ilities” would be

Ilities: the enabling of a God given gift through the Holy Spirit, not to be ignored, and for the exclusive purpose of ministering and encouraging the children of God.

If you’re a child of God, you have ilities. You may not have discovered it, but you’ve got it! And just because you don’t know what it is doesn’t exclude you from the accountability factor because you should be looking for it and opportunities to use it. My friend did not have to message me and encourage me last night, but he chose to take the time out of his day to do so. He has discovered the many talents that God has given him in music and exhortation and he uses them.

I also received a message from a fellow who thanked me for the new song that I published this week “You Knew,” (see video below) because it had ministered to his soul on a hard day, and he returned that by encouraging me. Wow! An ility at work! For he and I both.

Apostle Paul, who was so much more eloquent of speech than The Jesus Chick wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:1

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

Believe me I’ve fainted a time or two, or a million. I’ve known that there were things I should have said and done and I chose to ignore the ilities that God had placed within me because I was fearful, uncertain, or just flat out lazy.

Paul continued in verses 7-8

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

That is why, even on my worst days, even on the worst days of other children of God, we can minister to one another. So…

Tired of Politics? Find Yourself a Mars’ Hill

chick at mars

Monday morning. The start of the work week and for me a refocus following an awesome Lord’s Day. I was reading in Acts 17 this morning about one of the many adventures of Apostle Paul and was literally getting frustrated with the characters in the story. It was playing out in my mind like a movie screen reality and I could see the religious lot, with their pious faces, plotting the demise of the man who preached Jesus. Their faces would likely go flush, as men and women alike, one after another, believed Paul’s teaching and gave their lives to Jesus.

My heart broke for the family and friends of Jason who was arrested because they couldn’t lay hands on Paul. They’d take anyone; somebody had to pay for price for the upset in the community. And it was an upset. In verse 6 of that chapter they said of Jason and his friends “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.” I wonder if that would be said of any of us. Not me… But in this political climate the name of Christ certainly has an impact.

I think I may have torqued Satan off when it comes to my blog because he has attacked my computer from every angle. This morning was another day of frustrations trying to get this blog posted. After umpteen restarts, a system restore and virus scan, I’m back in business but how mild in comparison to what Paul and his crew went through. I mean really, here I sit whining over computer glitches and these men were paraded around in public and beaten. Now I’m mad again, at me as well as the pious people of religion.

Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill speaking to the men of Athens (vs. 22b-27)

I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

So to those who have declared war against the God fearing nation of America, those within and without, I reiterate Paul’s message in kind.

You may not like my God, and you can ignorantly choose to serve the god of the unknown, it’s America, you have that right. But my God, Who, by the way, created everyone, regardless of their nationality or faith,  has determined already what day you’ll meet Him face to face. He will only let you go so far. He’s set the boundary on how far this godless bunch of office-bearers can go before He jerks a knot in them. And the God that you choose not to know, and the One that I am proud to know is very close. That brings me peace, and should bring you fear.

“Technical Stuff” and “Political Stuff” may drive me crazy, but knowing God, and that there is no limitation on what God can do causes my soul to joy and gives me the desire to find Mars’ Hill in my own  community and tell someone about Jesus so that others “haply they might feel after him, and find him.”

It’s Your Job

upside down chick

My ministry is diverse to say the least. Every day I am wife, mother, Noni and friend, Sunday’s I’m kind of a jack of all trades: Sunday School Superintendent, teacher, pray-er, marketing, and music. Monday–Friday I’m in Jesus Chick mode – the writer, Tuesday’s I’m Violin instructor, and tonight I’m devotion leader, Wednesday’s I’m youth group leader, Thursday’s I’m a student of guitar, Friday’s I’m a fiddle instructor and advanced fiddle student and Saturday I plan for Sunday. Any given day I can be scheduling music groups or planning events, I have two on the horizon this week! Wow… I just wore myself out. I said all that not to get a feather in my cap, but to say life is busy. Yours is no doubt the same but the list and purpose may differ. My question for you is my question for me as I go through the day to day “stuff”  –   Is this stuff fluff or faith.

I love it. After God dragged me for 5 years I finally got with the program, although it’s still not always clearly defined for me, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt for the first time in my life I’m exactly where God wants me to be. If only I could become who He wants me to be… He’s still working on that. I’ve gone through months and months of guilt about not having a “real job.” Because that’s who I’ve always been and how my life has been defined. I needed a title. I always wanted a job with a uniform because I thought that would be fun and official, I almost had one once… and about the time the company was going to order them and I was settling in to the new me, God yanked that job out from under me and said “Are you kidding?” You’d trade me for a cute shirt? What can I say… I’m fickle.

I’ve always considered my career as a place of ministry, that I would be a light in those dark places. And some of them were very, very dark. And I know I made an impact because many of the people I worked with still come to me for prayer or advice and what a blessing that is! And perhaps for you that is where you are, you are that light in that dark place. That’s a real ministry. But are you treating it as such. Is it fluff or is it faith. Fluff will pay the bills, but faith paves the way to eternity with eternal rewards and if you’re a child of God, it’s your real job regardless of position or title, or cute shirt you wear.

In Act Chapter 18 we find Paul being a tent maker. At least for a while he helped his friends, Priscilla and Aquila, make tents.

Verse 1-3

After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.

After these things… it really was some “thing” if you read Chapter 17. In verse six it is said that they have turned the world upside down” and following that he was run out of a few other cities. There wasn’t any fluff involved in what Paul did. He continued in service to the Lord in the position he was in. Whether it be preacher, teacher or tent maker, he preached Christ and he stirred the people up.

That’s what I hope I do for you today. I hope I stir you up and cause you to realize that where ever you are it is your job to speak Christ. You may say, “But it’s forbidden.” That’s a tough place to be in, I’ve been there… and I was asked to stop. But somehow or another God paved the way for me to speak Jesus anyway. I’m not saying it will be easy, and it may take some creativity to bring it to pass, but it’s your job. You may also say, “But there’s nobody around.” If you’re reading my blog, you have a means of spreading the gospel… be creative! I want us to turn the world upside down!

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What to do when we differ

chick pondering

Fights in the faith, contention in the church pews, mayhem in the ministry…they make me nauseous. I can count on one hand the times I’ve been involved in confrontation with someone else in the ministry. I do not have enough fingers and toes in the whole family, including cousins (and there are many) to tell you the times I have bitten my tongue off to keep from saying hurtful  things, or walked away rather than battle it out. That’s not because I’m all “holy and happy”, but rather the fact that I’ll avoid conflict at every opportunity because I hate it so much. So as I’ve been in a study of Barnabas and Paul, their friendly fallout caught my attention.

Acts 15:39

And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;

Here were two friends in the faith who had worked side by side, fought the fight of good faith, ministered to one another and now stood toe to toe in disagreement about the direction of their ministry. Not the color of the carpet, who’s in charge of what committee, or why Susie Seat Saver wasn’t selected for the choir special. This contention was over Barnabas desiring to use Mark in the ministry, and Paul’s determination not to because of Mark’s prior record of failure. It wasn’t a tiff, it was a sharp contention according to scripture that caused them to part company. It’s also an unfished story in the Bible, leaving us to wonder if the fence was ever mended between these two men of God.

That bothered me; even though there’s little I could do about. It did however cause me to re-visit some past “parting of company” of my own which was ironic because Paul and Barnabas’s parting was over their decision to revisit the churches they had planted and encourage those ministries. That trip didn’t happen as planned but other trips did. Paul went on his second missionary journey teamed with Silas and Barnabas and Mark went their way. The unity was still there, but the uniformity had gone. They didn’t do it the way they always had. It doesn’t say in the scripture that anyone else was brought into their argument to take sides, but rather focus’ on the fact that their division was an expansion of the ministry not a separation. I’m inclined to believe from Paul’s statement in 2 Timothy 4:11 that there was no animosity betwixt them when he wrote to Timothy, Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.” Paul had obviously forgiven Mark for his discrepancy leading me to believe that Paul and Barnabas either patched it up or agreed to disagree. Both Paul and Barnabas continued on in unity of the original mission. As I reflected on this today it was a reminder to me to mind my own ministry. In the case of disagreements which may come and its okay, move on. Don’t dwell on the negative, but love one another and preach Jesus!

Our goal is to see souls saved. Satan’s job is to thwart that any cost.  I don’t want to be a pawn in his hand causing someone’s eye to focus on me instead of the Master.

From Fear to Faith with Apostle Paul

chick scaredy pants

Faith… We study it, share it, preach it and proclaim it over the hurdles we must jump, but every new predicament in life brings us back to the beginning of striving again to obtain that mustard seed of faith that will bring us through. After almost twenty years of salvation, one would think that I have would have obtained great faith… after all, I’m the Jesus Chick right? And yet it takes so little to get my knees knocking and heart trembling. But as He always does, God shows me that I’m in the good company of Apostle Paul who boldly preached in the face of death, yet he had his knee knocking moments as well. So this morning I’m looking to shore up my faith in the Word of God. If you’re needing a prop or two in your life I hope you’ll come along with me as I unpack  1 Corinthians 2:1-5

And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Mr. & Mrs. Smarty Pants

I am forever trying to plot out life in my own wisdom. In comparison to the wisdom of Paul I would still be in pre-school, and yet the Apostle Paul said that he was determined to know nothing but Christ. Regardless of the level of your intelligence, the letters behind your name or in front of your name, if you seek to know anything outside of the wisdom and will of God you’re in trouble. The first step to living in faith is stop thinking on your own and remember the price that God paid for you.

If God. The Creator and Knower of all designed you and your life, and then sent His Son to the cross of Calvary to pay for your life, will He not continue to care for it and put everything in your path to take you where He wants you to go. You and I are precious commodities in the Kingdom of God. We are the vessels that He pours Himself into and then places people and events in our path to bring glory to His Kingdom. Sometimes the paths are hard, but how much easier would it be if we just rode the wave rather than constantly fighting the current of the high waters about our neck. God’s got this.

Scaredy Pants

But I’m afraid! Paul was too! He said he was weak, afraid and trembling. That sounds pretty serious to me. Now granted… Paul was facing people who wanted him dead… What you and I usually face is far less, but God understands our fear. Paul, a learned scholar, didn’t rely on the wisdom that he had acquired through men, but allowed the Spirit of God to take over his faculties and bring the message to the people.

It’s hard to let loose of fear, because actually it’s the other way around, fear has a hold on us.  What bothers me this morning was lying in bed beside of me. (No, it wasn’t David) It was this ever present feeling of uncertainty. It was on my mind when I laid down and occupied my pillow throughout the night. So this morning I allowed God to lay hands on it. I don’t have that power! It is only through the Holy Spirit that I can be brave for today.

That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

If we are to stand in faith we cannot stand in the wisdom of man, because man just doesn’t get it. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen ~ Hebrews 11:1

A Trip to the 7-Eleven

chick saturday

We don’t have a 7-Eleven in our neck of the woods, nor any other large chain of stores. We’re about as rural as rural gets before it gets to frontier. You can’t always “have it your way” in Calhoun County, West Virginia, sometimes you can’t even get it! It’s a small price to pay though in my opinion to live in a neighborhood where everyone knows everyone and when the emergency services scanner goes off with directions to a home, somebody around those parts knows who to pray for. But another fact of life in our area is there’s little anonymity, possibly none.

As I read about the Corinthians that Paul had written to, anonymity wasn’t the case for their sins either.

Sometime around the middle of the first century, Paul traveled to spread the word of God at which time he traveled to Corinth. The level of wickedness in Corinth was as bad or worse than America, if you can even imagine it. A check list of issues was

  • Pagan altars
  • Idol worship
  • Worship of other gods
  • Prostitution
  • Blatant sin
  • Rejection of God
Hmm… Sound familiar?

The Jewish population of Corinth rejected Paul’s teachings, so the apostle turned his efforts to the Gentiles and thus the church of Corinth was born. One of the many sins of that day today was the lack of morality. Men and women alike did not honor their marriage and even weak members of the church were involved in affairs on a regular basis. But repentance did come for many.  Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 7:11  –  For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

A lesson in life from the 7-Eleven. We all struggle with sins and temptations, some to a greater degree than others, especially if your exposure to sin has been greater, then there’s more tools in Satan’s tool box to work against you. But here in this text we find the “overcomer’s club!” They’d fought the battle and won the victory.

Because of their:

The godly sort – the repentance of the Corinthians was genuine. And with it brought evidence of their desire to live for Christ.

Carefulness – to avoid the sins that had drawn them in and away from God. Oh that we would be more careful to avoid the pitfalls of sin through the company we keep and the exposure to multi forms of media. Sin is everywhere… oh be careful little eyes what you see, for the Father up above is looking down in love, oh be careful little eyes what you see.

Clearing yourself – That carefulness to avoid sin, and striving for a relationship with God brings a clearing of the air! There is nothing between you and the Holy One in Heaven.

Fear – A godly fear. A fear of falling back into the ways of sin that so “easily beset us.” God puts that fear in us because He knows without it we’d be prey daily.

Vehement desire – He also put within us a desire to know and serve the living God. You generally don’t know what it is until you’ve found it. But I believe there is a hole in the heart of every non-believer that draws them to the throne of God. They may reject it, but God said He would be lifted up to all men. John 12:32 says –And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

Zeal – Salvation and repentance brings a zeal, a fervor that can only be satisfied by telling the world about Jesus.

Revenge – The ultimate revenge against Satan is a soul on fire for Christ that robs him of the opportunity to steal other souls from God.

Clear of that matter – we cannot work for salvation. But we work to draw out minds into the goodness and wholesomeness of God and away from the sins of the world that will find us clear of the matter. I envision a long spiraling climb and finally reaching the peak of the mountain to where you can see clear from above… oh Glory… to be in that spot. Above the sin and reproach that Satan loves to lay at our feet.

March on Christian soldiers! Love ya! If   I encourage, please! share my blog with others.
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