I read down through the upcoming text, my heart was filled with joy! Thinking
on the beautiful salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ and what that means to me
how we must look at it in order to understand what it was that God did for us.
For me. For you. For the one and the many that you love. Oh, glory to God does that
not make you ever so grateful today?
look back in frustration at Adam and Eve’s very simple sin; the sin of
disobedience; and we try in our best pious way to imagine we would not, in
truth knowing we would. We’re all that weak. That’s why scripture says “for all
have sinned,” in Romans 3:23. That’s every “one” of us. We are all disobedient
read about the beautiful “One….”
Romans 5: 17-21
if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive
abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one,
as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by
the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of
as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one
shall many be made righteous.
the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace
did much more abound:
as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness
unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Christ our Lord, that beautiful One. As I’m continuing my study in Romans, slowly
making my way through these pages, trying to get a closer, deeper relationship
with the Lord, and wishing I didn’t fail so miserably at it, verses like this that
stop me in my track and cause me to say, “Thank You. I wish I was better at life-ing.”
Lord deserves better. His time on the cross not only took the sin of this one
Shari, it took the sin of a world of people, generation after generation, and
it’s that thought that causes me to hear His cry, “My God, My God, why hast
thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46b)
I hear within my own heart, why have you forsaken Him? Why do you fail? But
then I recall His word that says I’ll reign in this life because of the Lord
Jesus Christ. I’ll have victory in this life. Satan may think he has won the
battle with this girl, but he has not won the war. The word reign is to have
supremacy, power, control over! That’s what we have in Jesus Christ. It’s not
that we won’t mess up, but it’s those messes that are covered by the blood. He
did that so we wouldn’t continually live in defeat. He didn’t die for the
righteous (Romans 5:6-8), He died for sinners. Every “one” of them.”
the one. You’re the one. But Hallelujah! He’s the ONE.
totally get the anxiety and frustration that Abraham and Sarah may have been
feeling. They’d been promised a child, but then, as it does, age crept upon
them from no where and low and behold they found themselves past the fruit
was 90 for cryin’ out loud and Abraham 100. It was a dark day in the land of
Canaan when Abraham continued to believe in the promise that God had given him.
With the point being, he never gave up hoping.
our problem. We lose hope.
4:18 says of Abraham:
Who against hope believed
in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that
which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
There’s nothing like age to make you feel unfruitful.
With every passing year new aches and pains are introduced and your children
start “calling to check on you,” or asking you if you think you’ll “feel up to
it.” Good grief! It’s not that I’m not very grateful that I raised such
concerned children, it’s just that I didn’t think I was that old. And then I
look in the mirror and the age lines that I used to consider laugh lines aren’t
so funny anymore.
Welcome to the silver years Shari. I’m not yet to
the golden years, although they’re drawing nigh.
If I trusted what the mirror says or what my
lying bones say, I’d take off my Jesus Chick hat and consider sitting back and
waiting for Jesus to come and fetch me. Those are physical things against the spiritual
realm of hope. And they are not the only things “against hope.”
Logic is often the enemy of hope. If Abraham had
looked at it logically, he wouldn’t have even put out the candles and turned the
radio onto soft music at 100. What chance did he have at conception with 90 year
This story gives me hope! See, I’m still waiting
for some fruit… not of the Isaac persuasion, but of the spiritual kind. I’m
waiting for God to do a great work in my ministry that will bear fruit for the Kingdom.
I’ve waited a while! But I’m not 100 yet.
Just as Abraham I’m believing in hope. Wouldn’t
it be a sad world with out it. Truth be told, it is a sad world. I’ve listened
to many speak without hope. It is generally the unsaved, but not always. None
of us are immune to losing hope. This world is filled with adversarial demons
to strip even the strongest of a good attitude.
Today I have hope, because today I’ve been in the
word and I’ve read myself happy. But a few days ago, as I traveled down the
highway, I looked in my rear view mirror and all I saw was lost opportunities,
failed attempts and I was in the previous state.
And Jesus said unto him,
No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit
for the kingdom of God.
If a ploughman doesn’t look forward, he won’t
make the proper furrows, nor do his work well. The same is true of the child of
God. If we are continually looking back to see where we’ve been, we might
assuredly miss where we’re going. We need to be forward thinking Christians. Always
looking for opportunity, not resting in the laurels of previous ones, or
sulking in the disaster of errors.
I can find myself sulking if I’m not careful.
Sarah delivered that bundle of hope and named him
Isaac, meaning laughter. There is great joy when hope is delivered.
What does that look like to you?
I know what it looks like to me. It’s a strange
delivery I’m waiting on…
That souls are saved and lives are changed.
That my ministry be viewed as a ministry, not a hobby
by those who should know better.
That it is financially sustaining for my family.
That may or may not sound like much to you. But
there are days when I look back at the furrows I’ve made, and my fruit is
sparse. I lose sight of where I know I’m supposed to go.
Just like the farmer who’s responsibility it is
the take care of the land, it’s ours to take responsibility for this land.
Starting at home and working our way out.
I can’t help but think about J. Vernon McGee:
Following cancer surgery in 1965 at the age of 61,
the doctors gave Dr. McGee six months to live. The Lord gave him 23 more years.
In 1967 he launched the radio program “Thru the Bible” which took 5 years. At its completion the program tapes continued to run, and Dr. McGee and his board determined that the program would run until the money ran out. Through generous contributors it’s still running today.
Dr. McGee died in 1988, falling asleep in his chair
and waking in the presence of Jesus. At the time of his death the bible program
aired in 34 languages, but has since been translated into over 100 and is broadcast
on Trans World
the world every weekday.
At the age of 63 Dr.
McGee continued ploughing and didn’t look back. He was a successful man of God,
but I love that what he deemed as his greatest compliment came at the beginning
His greatest compliment
As a student pastor, Dr. McGee’s first church sat on a red clay hill in Midway, Georgia. It was there he said he received his greatest compliment: “It was from a country boy wearing high buttoned, yellow shoes. After a morning service he came to speak to me. He groped for words, then blurted out, ‘I never knew Jesus was so wonderful!’ He started to say more but choked up and hurried out of the church. As I watched him stride across the field, I prayed, ‘Oh, God, help me to always preach so that it can be said, I never knew Jesus was so wonderful.’“
Every year I seek a word to focus on that will draw me closer to God. Last year my word was “pursuit.” And pursue I did. The answers and edification for understanding God’s purpose for my life, again. Little did I know that as I pursued God, Satan pursued my mind greater and greater. But, I survived with a few skid marks from my heels digging in as my pursuit often times turned in to God drawing (aka pulling) me forward when I would digress from the path of understanding. Distraction is not my friend but it’s always as close as one.
I’ve prayed for weeks now about my 2018 word. Actually the prayer would go something like this, “God, what is my word going to be for 2018.” To which I would hear “Hope.” And I’d say, “No God, I don’t think that’s it.” I’m sure He rolled His eyes. Especially the 100th time I ask. And so again today, I said, Lord, my word is late. Am I even going to have one for the year? And so I sat down to read and study His word. Not mine. It was then I picked up a book, gifted to me by my friend Anne. It had been signed by the Author Dr. Bobby Jones with scripture penned in the cover. And so I read his scripture references.
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
And lastly Romans 5:1-8
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Twice God tells me to seek; three times He mentions hope. Some may call it coincidental, I call it my answer. God probably was about ready to call me an idiot, though He likely wouldn’t because He’s nice like that. But my word for 2018 is shockingly:
Hope in what? I praise His Holy Name that through faith I have access into His grace. I need it. A lot. Every time I doubt His design, fail to use His many gifts and neglect to praise Him as it’s due Him, I need grace. It is because of that grace that I have hope that I’ll have the opportunity to bring glory to His name in 2018.
I hope that through the 2017 trials and tribulations my patience will come easier and my experiences will be used to help others who may struggle as I do.
Finally, I’m so grateful that I can stand unashamed through the Hope of Jesus Christ Who has filled me with the Holy Ghost. It is through His Spirit that I find hope, peace and wisdom. I didn’t deserve it, but He was willing to go to the cross and die the terrible death that He did so that I could have a relationship, not just head knowledge, but a heart filled with love and the knowledge that the God of all, loves Shari.
My prayer for 2018 is H.O.P.E. – to Help Our People Evangelize. I want to encourage brothers and sisters in Christ, through music, art and the word of God to share the saving Grace of our Lord.
Writer, Speaker, Singer… but most of all, Servant of Jesus Christ