Tag Archives: Shari Johnson

Dumb For a Season

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As often is the case, my warped sense of humor took over this morning as I began to read the Christmas story. I hadn’t even made it to the Jesus part of the story, nor John the Baptist before I was seeing it in a somewhat non-traditional form. I’ll blame my two year old Granddaughter, Paityn.  We were on our way to Thanksgiving Dinner and she had said something silly to which I ask “Who taught you that Paityn?” and to which she replied “Duh, my mom.” I know… totally disrespectful right? No it was hysterical. She was mimicking someone older but she had the context correct, as if to say “where do I learn anything worth knowing?” We may have our hands full with this one.

Back to the story…

I said that to say this, Gabriel had his own “Duh” conversation with Zacharias in Luke 1:18-20 ~ And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

Zacharias had just ask an angel of God “How would he know what the angel had said was true; that as an old man he was going to father a son.” To which Gabriel replied. “Duh, I’m an angel.”

No he didn’t, but can you not hear it in his voice? “Come on! I’m Gabriel…an Angel of God for cryin’ out loud, His own messenger Standing before you in an array of light, pronouncing this great thing, and you ask ‘how can it happen?’ How often do you see angels?” So Zacharias was dumb for a season because of a lack of faith, meaning he could not speak until the season of child birth was completed.

I’d keep laughing at Zachariah if it didn’t hit quite so close home. How many times has God performed miracles in my life, and yet even the smallest things I have doubt that God will do, and then wonder why they don’t happen. For some reason I think God’s out of the miracle business, yet Jesus said in Matthew 21:21, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.

Faith goes a long way. Far enough to move mountains. And snow storms. My recording session this weekend is in danger of cancelation because of a weather blip. If it’s hammering down snow I likely won’t be traveling 4 hours to Cleveland, Ohio, so I need to have faith. I’ve seen God move the snow before. I’ve told the story and it bears repeating about a snow storm that had hit our county on a Wednesday night not long after I had been saved. I wanted to be in church more than anything in the world, but I didn’t drive in the snow. So as I worked that day I watched the radar and prayed that God would keep the snow at bay until after church that night. As a new convert I believed God could move mountains and mountains of snow and He did just that. The radar showed every county around us being hammered with snow, but over Calhoun County where I live was a donut hole of clear sky. The snow was stayed all day, I kid you not. As I pulled out of the parking lot of the church at 8 p.m. it began to spit snow, and shortly after I arrived home it dumped a truck load. It was to be expected, God had held it back all day!

Duh, He’s God ya know.

I don’t want to be dumb for a season. I sometimes feel I’ve been stupid for a life time. Join with me in belief that God will stay the snow this weekend, I’ll let you know how it goes!

Game on!!! It’s Christmas Time

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Just a few days into the Christmas season and I can already feel it. That attack on me from within and without. Projects are vying for my time, my to do list has gotten longer than Santa’s naughty list, and over all life is way out of control. One more meeting, one more event, one more phone call, one more thing to do, to buy to say… ugh.

It takes its toll. Both physically and spiritually.

You may have noticed that I’ve not blogged for a few days. My uniform hadn’t arrived yet. I’m on the home team where I play offense, defense and sometimes I jump over or crawl under the fence, none of which are very graceful. All of that cute gibberish is for one purpose… to remind you and I both that this is the season we need to be even greater spiritually defended.

My battle hero that I often look at is David. He knew what it was like to be under siege on every level. In Psalm 5:11 he says “But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.”

Let us not allow Satan to steal our joy this season. Don’t think for two seconds that you can defend it, you may be good… but you’re not that good!

Believe

Be Loud

Be Happy

Believe that God has a plan in every Holiday event, mishap or success, believe there is purpose. He is Christmas control.

Be Loud! Make a joyful noise for the Lord at every opportunity; sing carols, sing praise, just sing! You’d be amazed at what a joy spring can fill your heart through a song. (Please pray for me as I sing this weekend at a recording session. Which is partially the reason my blog has been lacking… one of many irons in the fire) Overpower the world’s song with the song in your heart

Be Happy! I know it’s so easily said. But what also is easily done is to look around and see how blessed we are in comparison to so very many others across the earth.

I hope to be back on line in the morning with a little more in depth blog, but for now this is where I am at…

Too busy for my own good, too quiet for the world’s good, and my too lack luster for the Lord’s good, He deserves so much more!

DEFENSE PEOPLE! The Game’s on!

The Color of Deception – A survival plan for America

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Acts 27:30-32 ~ And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.

Paul, a prisoner among others on board a ship sailing to Crete had warned the shipmen about their impending fate should they move forward. But who is he but a tent maker and a preacher? And so they sail on, and as was expected by Paul they hit rough seas. Fearing certain destruction of the boat, the crew of the ship let down the dinghy pretending to cast out anchors with a plan of leaving Paul, the guards and other prisoners on board to surely perish. Forget the captain goes down with the ship,it’s every man for himself. But Paul, the same who had warned them of the storm, warns them again of their demise if they don’t stay on the ship, so the soldiers cut off the dinghy’s rope and let it fall and all were saved in the ship.

This story rings true of our country to me this morning. They’ve heard the word of God, and yet our leadership continues to sail on in the direction of certain destruction. They’ve thrown out the dinghy’s, their plan to “move America forward” as the MSNBC commercial (which I loathe) says, and they don’t care who’s left in the ship to perish. It’s my prayer this morning that some of the soldiers of the cross will cut the lines of their escape plan and let if fall away from us. Yes there will still likely be rough seas ahead, but we’ll survive. Enough is enough.

The color of deception is motion sickness green. It’s America being tossed to and from, away from the traditions and moral convictions our nation was founded on and the acceptance of lies for lies. We don’t even believe it’s the truth, we’re just willing (as a whole) to follow liars, because they’re in charge. They’ve got the dinghy. We need people to stand up against these knot heads and cut the strings by making them follow the same care plan we’re on. They may be captain of this ship but they don’t control the tide. Hello?

I realize that’s a lot of metaphorical speaking. But I figure the resemblance to the shape of America is so obvious it won’t be an issue of understanding. Why is it that we allow them to say the Word of God is void? Why is it that there is reportedly 83% of Americans claiming the Christian faith and yet so few standing up for it against the 500ish men and women Senators and Representatives in Congress. Somebody needs to cut the dinghy ropes from these dingbats in Washington.

I know why I don’t, it’s probably the same reason you don’t. How?

To begin we have to one by one start cutting the ropes locally and then nationally until all the dingbats fall in the water. 2014 will be another election year. If Christians don’t do something to keep their people in the ship, we’re going to perish.

I, for one, have not given up on God in our nation. I’ve had no angel speak to me as Paul did. I’ve had no divine revelation from God. Only the Word of God that tells me if I continue on with Him, I’ll be safe. I believe God can still turn our nation around. But He’s not going to do it alone. We’re the ones in the ship.

Woohoo ~ Light the World!

I love social media for as many reasons as I hate social media. It’s true. For all the good it does, it also creates that much heartache. But as my good friend Dennis Legg says, “I can eat the fish, and throw away the bones.” There is such great truth in that statement. Facebook has exploded over the holiday weekend with Christmas tree and light posts from homes across the globe. I love it! So much so that I posted my own. But even greater than that are the posts about the light of my Lord.

Not until Heaven will we know the result of the seeds sown through social media. I know there are naysayers. Say on. I’ll even Amen you once in a while. But every time I see a scripture post, a word of encouragement, a cross or the many images with wonderful encouraging words I want to put up a score board and say, “That’s one more for Jesus!”

Through Social Media I have met some of the most wonderful “lights.” People in their own communities lighting the tree every day of the year, not just at Christmas. I know from the comments on their posts that their lights shine true. I’m not the only one that tunes in. Their testimony sparkles of glitter and gold and some days I want to create a fan page for them! But then I think that’s kind of creepy… and really they already have their fan page. It’s the pages in the Word of God that they share so liberally in a liberal world that doesn’t want it, but they got it anyway.

Isaiah 28:10

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

Little by little we’ll light the world.

1 John 1:5-7

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Let your little light shine!

 

Who Will Know You Care?

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I ventured out to do some early Christmas shopping with my girls on Thanksgiving evening, and it’s always a little surreal. Yes, I know it’s a family day. Yes I know it’s crazy, but I was with my crazy daughters, so it’s all good! Please don’t judge. The massive crowds eagerly awaited to spend their last dime on what truthfully wasn’t even a bargain and I watched as several disappointed and angry people vented about having missed the big deal as if their entire life’s purpose hinged on that one purchase. I’m not judging. Put me in a music store and I can be every bit as unglued as the Walmart shoppers of 2013, I just don’t have the financial means to back it.

It’s Thanksgiving and they’re afraid they’re missing Christmas. Now that’s crazy! This morning as I sit in the quietness of my home, my Christmas tree is up, gifts wrapped beneath it and the mantle is decorated, and I’m afraid of missing Christmas too. It’s so very easy to get wrapped up in the festivities and forget what Christmas is about.

There’s a new Christmas chotchky in my décor this year. An owl. He looks rather festive with his music note body and a little silver here and there for added appeal. He’s my thought behind this Christmas message this morning. Strange I know, but the Bible significance of an owl lead me to focus back on the true meaning of Christmas. And it can’t be bought. It’s the purpose of Christmas and it can’t be found on a shelf in any store in the world.

A relationship with God.

We were never meant to be alone. God created Eve for Adam as a help meet for the garden, He sanctioned marriage between a man and a woman and would call the church the bride of Christ, and what an abundance of joy in my heart this morning to serve the One who feeds my soul this message. Life is relational. But what happens when it’s not? What about those who may be in a crowded room full of family and friends but they’re still alone?

David felt that way in Psalm 102:6 ~ I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert.

He is silent in his affliction, alone, without friends or support, and yet David knew God. But the world had taken its toll on him. The sound of an owl in the darkness is lonely and wanting. Whoooo, whoooo. The very word is relational. I can feel the sorrow in my heart this morning for David who felt that everyone had forsaken him. Who would help, who would come to his aid… who really cared? I see that same cry in the faces of people I meet who may or may not know Christ. I want to do more to reach out to them and let them know they’re not alone.

That is the Spirit of Christmas. It’s building relationships with people so that they may know Who it is that cares. It’s giving hope in a hopeless time. Christ came to earth as a baby, but He walked the earth as man building relationships for the glory of God. So should we.

Who will know you care this Christmas?

Messed Up and Blessed Up… Happy Thanksgiving!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Thanksgiving morning. Wow, where did 2013 go? As I sit here this morning with my Jack Russell, Sam, curled up against my leg and a fire glowing across the room, I’m toasty warm and blessed with an abundance. I’m thankful for this platform that I’ve been given to share the gospel, encourage friends and make new friends along the way, (you can never have too many ya know). This morning I seem to be in an attitude of reflection and as usual Sam is not the only one on the couch. I hear him whisper, you’re an epic failure, so you’ve done some good… let me remind you of how you’ve failed. Ugh, does Satan never grow weary? I know I do. I’m almost ready to throw my hands up in defeat and walk away from the keyboard. What do I possibly have to say this morning…

Leviticus 7:15

And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten the same day that it is offered; he shall not leave any of it until the morning.

Old Testament sacrifices were a temporary fix in more ways than one. Not only did there need to be another sacrifice another day, that sacrifice wasn’t going to last through the day. Igloo coolers weren’t in business nor was Frigidaire, so the sacrifice needed to be eaten right then. Tomorrow it wouldn’t be any good.

What about our peace offering for thanksgiving? Here’s a few Thanksgiving Thoughts:

  1. Whatever the circumstance around you, be at peace. I know, easier said than done right? Not if you determine that that is the ways it is. Satan can turn the entire day upside down but if your heart is right side up, looking up in gratitude and taking note of all you have, peace can abound.
  2. Be thankful today. It may be a family feud, a burnt turkey or spilled pumpkin pie kind of day, but be thankful. Be thankful the same day for what you have, for tomorrow it may be gone. Someone noted on Facebook this morning that there were some empty place settings at family tables. Don’t take the day for granted.
  3. Don’t leave it until morning. Don’t put off telling someone you love them, mending fences or sharing a treasured thought with a family friend. Sometimes it’s a sacrifice on your part to open your heart up in such a way, believe me when I say it won’t go unnoted or unblessed.
  4. Remember that though heartache and blessing alike are temporary, the sacrifice Christ made on the cross was forever.

I just about let Satan steal my gratitude today. Thank you who are reading that encouraged me to write on until I reached this place. What place?

Remembrance. That the ultimate sacrifice was made so that I could have that sweet peace 365 days a year, even though I’m so very “messed up,” I’m also very “Blessed up!” God bless you and your family this Thanksgiving. I pray it’s filled with love, laughter and safe travels.

About that Wall

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If you’re going through uncertainty, change or trials, this blog’s for you.

I’ve had a few years of changes in my life. It’s reality that life cannot stay the same, which is good else I’d grow bored. But with some of the changes have come major construction or reconstruction projects in my life. I’ve built, I’ve torn down and sometimes I’ve just hunkered down close to the wall and rode it out. So for the past few days walls have been on my mind. Believing it’s there for a reason, I’ll share with you today what I discover when I get an up close look at scriptural walls that I believe God will apply to all of our lives.

The walls of Exodus – “Exit right please”.

Exodus 14:21-22 ~ And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

When drastic changes began to occur in my life a few years ago I felt as though I was in captivity. Every day I was a little more broken at the end of the day than when I went in in the morning. I worked for the courts and all I seen was the same ol’ same ol’ every day. Broken lives with a generic salve being slapped on them and a cheap Band-aid and then sent back out into their world for a reoccurrence a little further down the road. Nobody was ever “fixed.” I knew I had the answer, Jesus Christ; but I wasn’t in a position to share that answer with them often and I knew I needed to be. Exit right please…. And so I did. Into the unknown without job security, some hard times I’d never experienced before, but I still believe it was right. There were days when the walls on both sides of me seem to be on the verge of collapsing, but I kept moving forward and eventually found my way to the other side. Side bar… I too was much like the children of Israel at that time, I didn’t always submit to the spiritual leaders in my life and it always lead to sharks in the water, a few years of back tracking and not near the progress I could have had if obedience had been in place.

The wall of Joshua – “Enter straight please…”

Joshua 6:20 ~ So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.

At Joshua’s command, who had received the Lord’s guidance, they just kept walking. Seven days, around and around and around. Welcome to my life in church leadership without a Pastor. I want to scream, but God says wait, I’m not ready yet. “This is crazy God, should we not be doing something?”  – – “Just walk” is all I hear. And so I walk. I want to run, I want to dance, I want to do anything other than walk at a steady pace, it’s not my nature. There are hecklers on the wall and I’m expected to keep my mouth shut… again… not my nature. There’s leadership that I don’t always get; “shut up and just keep walking.”

Yes Lord…

My day to shout will come and I’ll enter in “Upward and straight.” Just like the children of Israel, but in the meantime I’m going forward with the work of the Lord, in my place. Somebody else gets to lead, and blow the really cool horns which at this point just sound like a noise to me, not progress.

Joshua 6:9-20 says ~  And the armed men went before the priests that blew with the trumpets, and the rereward came after the ark, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.  And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout.

Walk and wait… the wall will come down. And it will come straight down without loss of life. Whew!

The wall of Nehemiah – Dealing with what’s left.

Nehemiah 2:20 ~ Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.

After 17 years of service to the Lord, I’ve discovered breaches in my walls. I’ve let little cracks turn into gaping holes. I’ve allowed the gates that once guarded my faith to fall off their hinges. Sounds pretty spiritual, huh? Let me tell you like it is. I just lived in the city (came to church, did what I was supposed to do, and went home) I didn’t notice that there were things that needed my attention. I wasn’t polishing the vessels of God and making them shine.

Proverbs 27:17 says Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

One sure way to fall apart is to stop working together. I was working solo because in my fleshly frustrations I’d grown weary and stopped working with others. But we’re in a new era, we’ve been shook up a little, we’ve seen the breaches and the brokenness and as a body of believers we’re working to build it back up. We’ve been reminded of the only wall that matters.

Ephesians 2:13-14 ~ But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

I remember the separation, that’s one wall that Hallelujah! can’t be built back. When Christ tore it down. It was final and my relationship with Him was forever. I hope you know Him today. If my words have stirred you, I’d love it if you shared how.

Look How Far We’ve Come

Gettysburg AddressNovember 19th went by with little fanfare in the United States. It could have possibly been on the news, the likelihood of me seeing it there was slim to none. But as I read the Gettysburg Address this morning, my heart longed to hear a modern day political official speak with such eloquence and spiritual depth. It was a very short speech in comparison to most but I feel safe to say it had a far greater positive impact on our Country than anything coming out of the Whitehouse in current times. Note that I said positive impact.

He began the address with the words four score and seven years ago which much resembles Psalm 90:10 that reads “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” And he ends his address with a call to action of those gathered there. He acknowledges the honored dead  who were sacrificed so that our nation was given another chance, a new birth of freedom; a nation under God (Sovereignly ruled), and a nation  of the people, by the people and for the people that shall not perish. Showing his compassion and concern for those he served.

Look how far we’ve come. My heart is saddened for our nation, but not without hope, because I still serve the God of Abraham and Isaac, and Abraham Lincoln.

I’m not going to get into politics, it speaks for itself. Volumes. But I would like to offer you a suggestion of prayer for our nation as we go into the week of Thanksgiving.

Read the Gettysburg Address (it will only take a minute) and then pray the A.C.T.S. method of prayer.

Adoration – Acknowledge how good God is, and that it is His sovereignty that has allowed America to be the Great Nation it is.

Confession – Confess that as an individual and as a nation we’ve not done all we could to protect what we’ve been given.

Thankful – Thank God for the field of faith has gone before us to allow the freedom we still enjoy and for those who unselfishly continue to defend our honor, when we’re not always so honorable.

Supplication – Ephesians 6:18 says – Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Pray for each other and the leadership of America. An Abraham Lincoln quote from a speech in Chicago on July 10, 1858 said

Let us then turn this government back into the channel in which the framers of the Constitution originally placed it.

Amen. Pray on pilgrim.

And I stand corrected on tributes to the Gettysburg Address. Check out the Ohio State Video! If you love band music like I do, get you a hankee and enjoy!!! It’s 14 minutes long but worth ever second!

Ohio State Tribute

Don’t Fall for the Rock Seller

Once upon a time in a faraway land, there lived a Preacher. You likely thought it was going to be a prince or princess, as is the case in many popular stories; but no. My story this morning is not a popular one, but more along the lines of a reality series. In the era of Acts 20 of the Gospel, the church was booming! Thousands were being saved, many were being healed and there were several unhappy religious and big business people who were losing money on false idols and dead religion. They’d have given anything to drag people out of church and beat some sense into them, but in so doing they’d seen the church grow bigger. It was the craziest thing. Not at all like the sound mind needed to worship the rocks they were creating.

For hours on end the people in the city would sit under the Preaching of the Apostle Paul and then tomorrow they’d bring friends and listen again. Surely this was a cult! There was just one problem with that theory… their God had proof.

Acts 20: 7-12 ~ And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.  And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.  And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.  And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.  When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.  And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.

Paul had preached forever, it was midnight and the service was still going strong. And there sat Eutychus, a little on the tired side who had fallen asleep. The problem with that was he was setting in a third story window! He was D.O.L., dead on landing. Pronounced dead on the scene until Paul arrived and gave him a holy hug and there was life in him again! So much so that they spent the night eating biscuits and gravy until morning; (a little creative license there) but it was a party until the break of day. And it’s concluded by saying that they were not a little comforted. In other words they were a lot comforted!

Now, to the guys selling rocks in the village and calling them gods, this was an issue. Their rocks could do nothing but provide a false sense of security. And so it is today, we still have rock sales in the village and for some reason the sales have gone up. More and more people are buying into the lie of the Devil that there is hope outside of the one true God. The rocks have taken the shape of houses, cars, electronics, position of life and the rich get richer and no one is comforted. People are falling out of church left and right and there is no one going to revive them. They just leave them lay, surely they’ll come back. Hello? They’re dead. They’re not coming back unless someone goes and gets them. I warned you it was a reality show.

The reality is it’s time the church went outside. As you go into your church this morning look around you at the empty seats and I pray that God will bring to remembrance the soul that sat there in times past.

Luke 14:23

And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

If you’re the soul that once sat there let me ask you one question. “Have you found comfort outside of Christ?” If your last church experience was not one you care to have again, allow me to compel you to find a new place. Don’t fall out the window and just lay there. Find a good King James Version Bible believing and preaching church and stick to it. If you’re in my neighborhood, stop by Victory Baptist Church in Grantsville, WV. You’ll be welcome

They Know Who You Are

In the book of Romans, Chapter 16 there is Paul’s version of a Church Banquet, although there may or may not have been food involved; but he has a roll call of saints who have been used by God to bless Paul and the church of God. He mentions several men and women who were key players in his ministry, some seasoned saints and other new converts; and then in the middle of dinner he lays out a warning of the unnamed un-servers. I know, it’s not a word, but it’s certainly an idea.

Romans 16:16-20 ~ Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you. Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

And then he goes back to the roll call in verse 21. So why put a damper on the commendation service? Because it’s reality. In most every church there is a great work going on. There are saints of God who are dedicated to the service of Christ and seeing souls saved, they love serving God and have no desire to be caught up in the middle of church drama, but it can happen. And it’s detrimental to Kingdom. That is why Paul’s lays the charge to his people. He wants to protect them from what he’s experienced again and again as he traveled.

Mark them, avoid them, know them. Because they’ve done as much to you. Paul said that their obedience is come abroad unto all men. Meaning their reputation had proceeded them, and he was glad for it. But evil doesn’t change, it’s pretty simple actually. Thousands of years and Satan’s plan hasn’t changed, divide and conquer. It worked with Adam and Eve and it still works in the church today. If he can but twist the word of God “just a little,” not enough to hardly be noticed he can set an entire congregation at odds with one another. And there’s always weaker (simple) vessels ready and willing to fall for Satan’s lies. They’ve not studied the word of God and they’re apt to take it out of context. Although scripture makes a great Twitter post, it’s not been to be a sound bite. 2 Timothy 2:15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Satan knows the key players in any church and it’s there he launches the attack. Christians aren’t the only church planters. Satan sows his seeds as well. In Proverbs 6 among the seven things that are an abomination to the Lord is he that soweth discord among brethren. Proverbs 6:19. Old Testament or New, it hasn’t changed.

Stand guard Christian soldier, because if you’re serving God you’re in the cross hairs of Satan. Put on your armor this morning.

Ephesians 6:13-16 ~  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;