I feel foolish a lot. There
are days that every dream and imagination I’ve had seems like the dumbest ideas
ever. True story. Not an exaggeration. But the one solid foundational belief
within me is that the cross made all the difference in my life, and when the
rest of my world falls apart the cross still stands.
This morning I needed
that truth. I guess I need it every day, but today more than ever. I don’t want
to give credit where it’s not due; and there are times that I’m pretty sure it’s
me attacking my mind and not Satan. My self-doubt is running haywire today. So I
turn to the one sure thing in my life. The cross.
The world may view it as
foolishness but my work in the ministry I’ve never doubted. I’ve never doubted
my purpose in that place because I always stand in amazement at what God has
done in my life and it’s all because of the cross.
The Cross brought
I love the image of the
veil being rent from top to bottom (Luke 23:45)
the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
As Jesus “gave up the ghost” and the work was
finished on the cross, the final price was paid so that we could have a
relationship with God. So that I could talk to the Creator. I have no need to
go through a priest. The High Priest is at the right hand of God saying “that
child is mine, she can approach the throne any time she needs.”
I have never been turned
The Cross brought Comfort
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father
will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to
your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
When the world says I’m foolish, the Holy Spirit say, “You’re
That comfort that comes from within cannot be explained, it can
only be experienced. It’s heartbreaking to think of the world who does not have
it because I know what it’s meant for me to have the indwelling of God. Especially
on days like today.
Please don’t think that I’m asking for sympathy or a pat on the
back for what I do. I’m just sharing with you what you too have probably
experienced. Doubt is a powerful tool. It’s the avenue of quitters and I have a
hard time not traveling down that road.
The Cross Brought Compassion
It’s what keeps me going. I know
the world needs to see more of it. It’s the reason I can kick doubt out of the
way and keep on keeping on; because I have compassion for the people of God who
need words and images of encouragement. I don’t know what the future holds for
the Jesus Chick, but as the song says “I know Who Holds” it.
With the Easter season upon us and the many worldly images of the season, it’s good to have a reminder set before us. God created the bunnies and the chicks, but He communes with this chick, and I am so grateful for the cross that made it possible.
I’ve recently watched a few Christian friends, and
by watching I don’t mean “watching” in the sense of waiting for them to fall or
judging their walk. I watch because they’re drawing attention to themselves and
the fact that they are drawn to the wild side. To my knowledge, they’re not
actively participating in a bad lifestyle, but they’re fascination of it brings
me to the realization that I too, and likely every child of God, can be drawn
into a desire to walk on the wild side. And there is a danger.
For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by
nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much
more shall these which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this
mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is
happened to Israel, untill the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There
shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungoliness from
Apostle Paul is speaking to the Jews about the
wild side of the Gentiles. They didn’t appreciate it. They’d always steered
clear of the Gentiles; and now, this Gentile loving Jew was telling them that
they should embrace them and call them brothers and sisters. What? That rebel
nation is now God’s people too. Yes! Hallelujah. Because we were made new. We
were not a heathen branch grafted into a healthy tree that would have weakened
it. But rather we were a newly formed branch, not formed by nature which grows
wild, but rather formed by the Creator with purpose. I just wrote myself happy!
The Jews were represented by the olive tree, a
valuable, fruit bearing tree. But their focus wasn’t on the fruit, it was on
their status as the original tree. Apostle Paul was trying to reintroduce them
to the Fruit Bearer. Christ. The long awaited Messiah that they had rejected because
they didn’t understand the mystery of the work that God had done. They didn’t
want to understand. That would be key.
And sometimes we don’t want to understand the
price God paid to turn us from that wild branch, into a Holy Nation. You see,
there’s a side of me that can look back on the wild side of life and think “that
was fun.” But then I remember what life was really like outside the True
Branch. And nothing on the backside of where I am now, seems appealing. I don’t
want to mar the beautiful Branch that I have been allowed to become a part of.
That’s what scares me about the friends of mine
that find joy in reliving the wild side memories and walk dangerously close to
marring the branch.
Glorifying Sin Mars the Branch
When someone speaks of the past life’s sin in a
manner that makes it sound fun and exciting, it can cause the unsaved to think
that we’re missing out on something by being saved. That’s a mark on the
branch, because it is the furthest from the truth.
I lived unsaved 34 years. I had plenty of
experiences in life that the world deems as fun. I also know the miserable
state I was in at the time. That somehow gets forgotten by those glorifying
But now… Glory to God I’m having more fun, and
more excitement than I ever had pre-salvation. Hands down, it is not an
Glamorizing Sin Mocks the Branch
makes me nauseous. But for me it’s what happens when I hear someone laughing
and joking about sin. Whether it’s their sin from a previous life, or someone
else living in sin. There’s nothing funny about it.
views as a funny story about a drunk, reminds me of the lives I’ve seen ruined,
absolutely destroyed because of alcohol. When a Christian speaks of alcohol as “not
sinful,” when drank in moderation, I wonder who they’re trying to convince.
While few people
joke about drugs, the legalization of marijuana reminds me of a night at 15
years of age, I almost died because someone laced mine with PCP. You may say one has nothing to do with the
other. I disagree. Because one is a gateway drug to the other. Just as beer is
the gateway to a stronger fix for an alcoholic. And one time just may be the
end to a life that wasn’t saved. It’s a game that is too dangerous to play, and
certainly doesn’t need glamorized by God’s people.
Glossing over Sin Moves the
Making light of
any sin, or looking at the wild side of life as a fond memory causes an
instability in the life of the believer not just the unsaved. I’ve watched it
play out too many times.
I heard a
preacher mock the “Baptist” about not being drinkers for months and months, and
then I watched him fall to alcoholism. He did eventually win the victory over
it, and I praise God for that, but he paid a high price.
I watched as a
woman made light of her indiscretions and almost destroyed her marriage.
I was broken
hearted when a preacher friend fell to a sexual sin. I also remember his last
sermon, the title of it was “Finishing Well.” He did not.
I didn’t get my
20 plus year badge of the Christian faith without being broken hearted, hurt,
and yes, I too have fallen because I’ve walked too close to the wild side. It’s
too dangerous to make light of and Satan loves it every time a Christian “fondly”
remembers a day of sin. Don’t give him one drop of glory.
Remember what the
price for that sin was. We are not heathen branches grafted into a healthy
tree. We were made new! Let us act like it.
For God doth know that in the day ye eat
thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good
don’t want to scare you but I have a 22 point message. And before you tune me
out, they’re actually sub points of a __ point message and they’ll only briefly
be mentioned, and in a manner I think you’ll come to appreciate regarding the
tree of good and evil from Genesis 3.
think often about that doggone tree in the garden that started it all when it
comes to sin and mankind. If it hadn’t been for that tree, life would have been
so much different for each one of us. And Then I think of who I’ve become
because of many the evil things in my life, and it makes me ponder the tree a
little deeper today.
The Fallacy of the Fruit
God created the fruits of the tree, it says in Genesis 2:9 And out of the ground made the
Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for
food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of
knowledge of good and evil.
doesn’t say there was any difference,
with the exception that in verses 16-17, God said And the Lord God commanded
the man, saying of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the
day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
were all good for food, but one was forbidden, and yet it wasn’t entirely evil.
It was the tree of good and evil. That’s where some confusion on my part comes
in. How can a tree be filled with both. And why was it even there? Why would
God put something so tempting in the garden that He knew would reap such destruction
for all of mankind?
there’s one thing that I have figured out in my 56 years of life on this earth,
it’s that “Nothing just happens.” God has purpose for every single thing on and
in this earth. And while it was not ever God’s intention for man to sin; God
still knew the story before it happened. He also knew Satan’s starring role in
the story and how Satan twisted the words of the Lord to confuse Eve.
shall not surely die:” he said.
so Eve ate of the tree and the rest, as they say, is history. But what Eve set
in motion isn’t just history, its future as well. There are things that have
happened and things that are going to happen that are horrible because of the
circumstances of the original sin.
the fruit of the garden was good, and Eve could have had any one of them and
been satisfied. But it says that upon the temptation of the Serpent’s words,
6 … saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to
the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit
thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they
were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Something happened when they discovered evil. They already knew
good, but now they’d discovered the opposite of good, which is evil.
They knew they were naked.
For the first time they experienced fear, shame and guilt. They no
longer had confidence in who they were. Where they had once looked forward to
the arrival of the Lord in the garden, now they were hiding and covering their
bodies up because of that doggone fruit of the garden. And we’re still doing it
today, even though it’s no longer necessary.
I created the drawing and used all the words I could think of that
began with “D.” But there’s a thousand others that start with many other
letters that could fit on the branches as well. All things that cause our
relationship with the Lord to suffer. That was Satan’s goal. He was jealous of
Adam and Eve and what they had with the Lord. He was out to destroy it. And
he’s still destroying it today. He hates our relationship with God. How many of
us are suffering one of the afflictions I’ve listed on the tree, or multiple. And
how many times do they drive us away from God because Satan convinces us that
we’re unworthy of God’s love. That’s what Adam and Eve discovered that day.
That they were unworthy. Shameful. They didn’t know that before they discovered
evil. But from that one act of disobedience, look at how many problems came.
When I think about how many offshoots of sin came from the seeds
of that one forbidden fruit I realize how very important it is to get to the
Root of the matter. Pun totally intended.
The Foreknowledge of the Father
What happened in the garden did not catch God off guard.
9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none
else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the
things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all
“Why” God created the tree in the garden isn’t as
important as the fact that He “created it.” He spoke it, and it came to be. We
want to question everything, rather than acknowledge that God is just amazing!
He knew everything that would happen and he allowed it to happen because
everything has purpose.
For certain Satan is to blame and there will come
a day that he’ll be taken care of. But what the fall of man proves is that man
and woman need God. The very thing Satan didn’t want. Every single bitter fruit
on the tree does one thing, it causes us to search for hope and hope is found
at the root of the tree.
I’ve experienced every single
thing on that tree. But I’ve also experienced everything at the root of that
tree. And because Christ is, (and this is the final point)
of our Faith
He is the Root of all we need in Life.
10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which
shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his
rest shall be glorious.
We can find rest in His knowledge that is provided to us through the Holy
Spirit because of His sacrifice.
All of the evil that Eve unleashed on that tree is covered by the blood
of Jesus. Adam and Eve tried to use fig leaves to cover it up. Something else
from a tree. But that wouldn’t do it, only the blood sacrifice would cover up
what they’d done.
What I came to realize from this study, is that all of the things on the
tree that I thought were evil, God used it for His good. That’s why I believe
it’s called the tree of good and evil. Satan could only see the evil. The
destruction, death, doubt, depravity of man. But God, who knew the ending would
see what His Son would offer in its place. Devotion, deliverance, defense, our
Too many other good things to count. But we have to take responsibility
for our part of the evil. And then God’s shows us the goodness of His
We are the good fruit of someone. God handpicked us for a purpose.
I pray today you’ll remember that when Satan tries to show you the bad
fruit in your life. And you’ll remind him of the good that’s come out of it.
There is some.
And I pray you’ll never lose sight that we’re going to get to see that
perfect garden someday when it’s redesigned by God.
try my best to keep life in perspective. My friend Gloria has a saying about vain
people that “They’re all that and a bag of chips.” I don’t know where the
saying comes from, but I like it. Because it sums many of us, including myself,
who sometimes need an attitude check on life.
Paul said it like this in Galatians 6:3
if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth
word “something” was on my mind when I woke up this morning. It was just there,
lingering around, waiting to be searched out. I thought it odd that such a
common word of today was only found eight times in scripture. But it only took
one of those times to capture my mind.
The Perspective of Our Performance
let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself,
and not in another.
our performance is not what gets us into Heaven, that is the acceptance of what
Christ did and that alone, it is important to God. We just have to put our
performance into perspective. Our performance should bring “rejoicing.”
is so often not the case. Be it in the secular world or the spiritual world.
Performance often brings with it a competition, frustration, or self-condemnation.
My work isn’t as good as theirs? Why am I not where I want to be? It’s not good
enough? I speak from experience, not judgement. Knowing that happiness (rejoicing)
will not be found there.
only comes when we prove (demonstrate) our work for God. When it is done to
please Him, not anyone, nor even ourselves. We don’t have to like it, although
we should. We just need to do it for Him. That is the perspective of our
performance, is it being done for Him?
The Perspective of Personal
every man shall bear his own burden.
single one of us have been given a role to play on this earth until God says we’re
done. He did not say it would always be easy, but what we do for Him will be
productive. While there is certainly teamwork within the church, we each carry
a responsibility for the ministries of God. For some reason the church has lost
that perspective. It’s the preacher, teacher, deacons or some other person’s
job. Not the congregation. Their job is just to show up right?
according to scripture.
him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good
things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth that
shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap
corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life
Apostle teaches that we’re to take care of those that teach and preach the gospel.
The word “communicate” means to “provide.” This also brings reward. The word
sowing has such a negative connotation in this modern day because of television
preachers who have greedily used scripture for their own gain. Not the Lord’s.
husband David fell asleep with the television on a few days ago and when I woke
up I could hear a TV evangelist shouting for $100, $500, $1000 seeds that he
assured the listener would come back 1000 fold. Are – you – serious! I was
angry. I quickly turned that charlatan off.
guarantees that we will never out give Him. But He didn’t say it would come
back monetarily. And Jesus didn’t look like Mr. T with gold dripping from His
neck. That’s a perspective we need to understand. But ministry work costs
money. And for those who cannot go and do, God may have called them to provide.
Some way, some how, every child of God is called to be a part of the ministry.
Not just a pew sitter.
The Perspective of Perseverance
let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint
not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially
unto them who are of the household of faith.
easy to lose sight of the goal. Again… I speak from experience. While I spend
every day in some way in service for the cause of Christ, sometimes it’s me
trying to survive and that’s not how God intended His children to live.
plan for His kids is to do good; take care of ourselves, take care of each
other and rejoice in it all. I must confess that somedays I’m not rejoicing.
But when I think about how good God has been to place me in the place I’m in,
with the people I’m with, I can rejoice on the worst of days.
I pray you have a blessed day, and that you understand that in and of ourselves, we are nothing, but in the Lord’s eyes you really are all that and a bag of chips!
Is there not an appointed
time to man upon earth? Are not his days also like the days of an hireling? As a
servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the
reward of his work.
a soul on earth has likely ever felt the frustration of ministry work like Job.
Here he was, a man who the scripture described as “Perfect and upright and one
that feared God,” ~ Job 1:1, and because of that he was targeted by Satan and
tested by God. There is a vast difference between Job and I. Yet it doesn’t
stop the ministry frustrations at times and the feeling that my eternal
difference making is sparse. The only difference, I’m not worthy of the right
to complain. Still
doesn’t stop me from doing it though.
morning Job 7:1-2 gave me the kick in the pants that I needed.
The Appointed Time
have not felt well lately. Mainly because I’m not taking care of myself. My
friend Gloria has told me that she is having a difficult time raising me. This
damaged knee of mine has me feeling like I’m a rebellious teen ager who has
just been told they’re grounded. I’m sneaking out at every turn, but
unfortunately I’m closer to being a senior citizen than a senior in high
school, and sneaking out means that I’m walking and working more than I should around
the house. That’s sad isn’t it?
But my ministry work suffers because my psyche suffers. If I sit, I feel worthless. Imagine how Job felt. It literally makes me nauseous to think what that man went through. It’s why his words carries weight. He earned that right.
knew that there was an appointed time to die, and that unfortunately this wasn’t
it for him. He was wishing for death.
am wishing for life! If there is an appointed time to die (and there is) there
is also an appointed time to live; and by live I mean serve. Until we draw our
last breath there is work to be done. This is our appointed time. What are we
going to do with it?
you’re not dead, God’s not done!
The Appointed Work
work for that time in his life was to be a witness. He didn’t realize. He didn’t
know we’d be writing, talking and preaching about him for thousands of years
later. And we don’t know what our tough times will mean either on the other
side of eternity.
think God has some reading for us to do when we get to Heaven.
56:8 says “Thou tellest my wanderings:
put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?”
we’re serving, they’re talking about us in Heaven. Our tears are in a bottle
and there is a book of our story! I don’t
want my book covered in dust because it’s never written in. (not that they’ll
be dust in heaven.” Maybe angel glitter. But I want my book to be a best seller!
The Appointed Reward
And, behold, I come quickly;
and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
forget that God’s idea of quickly and ours is two separate notions. But “quickly”
just might mean before this day is through, and the opportunity to collect
those rewards are limited.
rewards are those I love. I have a house full of kids today, I’m believing that
they’re going to make my life easier. Yeah…. I didn’t believe that any more
than you do. But, it’s an opportunity for them to see Noni serving God in hopes
that they too will have that desire. And that will be reward enough!
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God
created he him; male and female created he them. ~ Genesis 1:27
I find myself asking,
at what point do kids stop considering themselves an artist. And then I also
find myself asking, “At what point did some adults think they were?”
There was a social
media video going around the other day about the child of an artist who at the
ages of a two or three had his paintings selling for thousands. I rolled my
eyes, curled my lips and determined in my heart I wouldn’t be bitter. It was
just ridiculous to me. This kid was literally throwing paint on a canvas and
they are in awe of his talent. He may grow into an amazing artist, I won’t
begrudge him that. And I wouldn’t tell the little fellow his art was subpar.
But I would gladly tell the people paying thousands for it that their brain was
I’ve never been drawn
to too many abstract artist. Although some I have found very talented. I could
tell by the way they created it wasn’t about throwing paint on the canvas, but
there truly was a method to their madness. By color and design, it was good. At
least that’s my opinion. If you like abstract art, glory to God! I just don’t
I’m going from the
prospective of the greatest of all imaginations. God. He just didn’t throw
paint on the canvas and call it a sky. The colors worked together. When He
created man, He sculpted Adam and Eve in magnificence! Look at everything else
on earth. It’s beautiful. None of it looks like an afterthought.
So back to my
original question. When do children stop considering themselves to be artists?
I don’t know for certain, and I’m sure it differs, but I would wager a bet, if
I wasn’t Baptist, because we’re not allowed to bet. But if I was, I would wager
a bet that it’s after the first negative critical experience.
If you know anything
about me, you know I’m an encourager. I don’t criticize. Even if I think it. I
may offer a suggestion to help someone, but I know that when someone creates
something, they’ve usually done their best. And I can guarantee if they gave it
to God, He would put it on His refrigerator. But He may not hang it in a
It’s taken me 30
years to call myself an artist. Not because anyone has ever criticized me,
because that is the furthest from the truth. I have great encouragement in my
life. But I have no self-esteem. And of the few negative nellies that have
critiqued me, and they’ve just been a few. That’s all it took to squelch me
down. It’s what has kept me from making
a living at the gift God gave me.
I stopped taking
coloring serious. I still did it, but I didn’t take it serious. Most people
just stop doing it all together, although it has made a reprise in recent years
with the new adult coloring books.
Going deeper into the
realm of creativity causes me to explore why we are less apt to be obedient to the
leading of the Holy Spirit telling us to do something, to create something new.
Perhaps its because we fear that same critique of the world that we experienced
as children that caused us to no longer view ourselves as artist.
You might be an
artist of words, works, numbers. There are too many talents to list. What is
your gifting and is it something that you should be using for the Kingdom,
either for a living, or for a ministry. And why aren’t you using it?
How do we know if
it’s Refrigerator or Gallery worthy? All good questions. And worthy of looking
into the scripture to see what God says about who we are.
In His Image
He created us in His
image. With passions like Him.
hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
He controls us and
creates specific desires within us. He created us to create. I personally don’t
know of a child who doesn’t like to create “stuff.” It’s engrained in us as
babies from making a mess to making what we think is the most amazing piece of
art ever! All six of my grands love creating, even though they may not all grow
up to be artist. Praise God, they don’t know that. They just want to create.
I believe that as we
grow that creativity takes shape into different amazing things. But creating is
not just an artistic endeavor. Creating is doing a new thing.
Isaiah 43:19 says 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.
God didn’t stop
creating, why should we. He went from creating things, to creating paths and
then using us to complete His work so that He can get the glory. I think people
and churches get stalemated when we lose our desire to create, or we just don’t
know the direction we should go. We’re satisfied with just showing up.
The church should be
an ongoing project of getting souls saved and that takes many shapes and
I’m a project driven
person. I need a project to feel purposeful. And I believe that’s how God
created us all. Like Him, we are made to create.
heavens above, rain down my righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let
the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness flourish with
it; I, the Lord, have created it.
All of Heaven and earth work
This morning I picked up my
fiddle that I had had to put a new “E” string on because I broke the old one
tuning it. I hadn’t played it for a week or two and every string was out of
tune. It sounded awful. But when I got the tuner out and put every string in
tune, suddenly I felt like a musician again. That’s how life is. With artistry,
with jobs and churches. We get out of tune. We lose our passion and purpose. We
need tuned up. We need to find that creativity and desire to make something
wonderful for the Lord. A new coloring page.
My grandson Logan was
creating a Charizard. Which I don’t even know what is, other than it’s a
Pokemon character. But it didn’t matter. It only mattered that his hand created
God wants to see some of
your work, your best creative pieces. And there’s a reason that Christ said
that we should come to Him like little children. Because it’s with that mindset
that we feel free and welcome to create. Not judged.
Don’t squelch your creative
spirit. God may just be getting ready to do something amazing with you.
Not By Accident
This was His word for me
when I was ready to back out of His work again because I would be judged. God told me this. He said “you’re past the
age where you can throw stuff on a canvas and call it art. Be intentional. And
God doesn’t create things
by accident. He had purpose. So should
we. Don’t ever stop coloring. There’s something about that child within that
helps you to keep in check with Who’s really in control.
When I think
of the Bible characters that stepped into the unknown at the instruction of the
known, my heart is encouraged. When I get ready to take my first step, it’s
always a flutter. It’s usually followed by nausea and fever blisters. Weird
right? That’s what stress and nerves do to me. Once I get past the first step
and start walking on the new ground I settle in pretty quickly. But those first
steps often feel like a cliff.
stepped out of the Ur of Chaldees he may or may not have felt a little apprehension.
The Bible just says he went. But in the book of Shari it will say, see went…
but she didn’t feel good.
When Moses was
told to step into the leadership role of Israel, He argued with the Lord that
he wasn’t very good with a bullhorn. So God gave him a mouth piece named Aaron.
But it didn’t take him out of the role of leader.
When God made
David King, he was in one of the lowest positions of the day, a shepherd boy.
But God used all that position to make him a mighty defender and a man who
could lead people with the same passion he lead sheep.
picked “Team Jesus” from the crowd, He picked a variety of twelve characters
with a variety of talents. We know their names 2,000 years later because of the
impact they had in their work.
I just wrote
really got to experience a comfort zone, because God is always doing something
in my life. Sometimes it’s because He’s fixing what I broke, and that’s very
uncomfortable! Today is no different. A new ministry direction is on the
horizon with doing things I’ve had a passion to do for 20 years. But this time
it’s on God’s terms. So it makes me feel a little better about taking the first
I hope that in
sharing my thoughts on my zone, that maybe it will help you navigate yours a
the following a matter of prayer when it comes to the new Jesus Chick
God would open the doors (not Shari)
provides a team of people with a passion for the work.
The work will
focus on the following areas:
the Gospel (always first and foremost)
abuse educations programs
That would be
why I need a team. There is a huge amount of work on my plate. But I want to
reach as many people as I can with this ministry and give them the tools to
Sunday is not my only day of listening to sermons. I listen to a variety of preachers and pastors throughout the week, some might surprise you and some may not. I’m no respecter of denominations. I’m a respecter of those who biblically speak Jesus. Period. It’s why, when a preacher that I’m “Facebook friends” with, and I use that term very loosely, went on a trashing spree of preachers my blood boiled.
There were a few that I utterly disagree with too, but I leave them to God. Although if someone asked, I’d willingly tell them why I disagree. But this guy went so far as to say they were lost! My first thought was “who made you God?” The only One who has the right to call a man or woman saved or lost is God. I cannot look on the soul and tell. Nor do I want that responsibility.
I’m not sure he
mentioned Perry Noble, though he probably would have; but I’ve followed the ups
and downs of Perry Noble for years. I’ve wept with him and for him. He broke my
heart when he fell as Pastor of New Spring Church. I cheered him on when he
fought his way back. Though he didn’t know, because he doesn’t really know me.
See… we’re “friends” too.
I like Perry because he’s real. Sometimes too real for me, I’ll be honest. He says some things that goes against my good Baptist girl grain. And he says some things that make me laugh really hard that really shouldn’t. But most important he gives me a desire to have a deeper relationship with my Heavenly Father. And that is what a preacher is called to do. Not judge other preachers!
So this week on Perry’s new podcast for his new church “Second Chances” he preached on the prodigal son. Not an unknown sermon for even a lost person. But Perry preached it from the perspective of the brother who stayed home. Again not an unknown sermon topic. But what was new to me was the thought about the “good” son didn’t have enough of a relationship with his father to know that (1) how upset the father had been (2) that the son had come home and (3) why there was a need for the party.
The prodigal came
to himself, the farm boy needed a come to Jesus moment with Dad. But that’s not
what he got. The Father had mercy for both. That was the gist of Perry’s sermon.
But much better. I just gave the highlights.
What drew my mind
into this today was my own relationship with God. How much do I know about what
God wants for my life? I know what I want, but do I know what He wants?
It’s time to come
I am often guilty
(really often) of studying for the purpose of others, and not for myself. It’s
not that I don’t receive and need the messages I write and the Word of God that
He speaks into my soul as well. But many of those messages are about general
life issues, not personal life issues. If you’ve studies scripture for
yourself, you likely know the kind; when the word of God cuts you open and
fillets your heart like a fish! Showing you all the nooks and crannies of it and
draws you into a conversation with Him where you almost feel like you’re
sitting in His office on a crystal stool like a princess as He gives you the “Dad”
Oh…. I so need to
draw that someday.
But more importantly I need to be there.
I don’t need to preach to anyone about “their” life, nor do I ever want to be guilty of judging the soul of another person. I don’t know who’s saved. I only know that we all need to come to the knowledge of Who Jesus is and then grow in His grace so that we can know Him in a way that a child should know their Dad.
My girls have a very special relationship with their Dad. They adore him and when he speaks, they trust in his wisdom. That’s how a child of the King should be. Adoring. Listening. Believing.
When I lay down
at night, I should listen for His bedtime story. When I rise in the morning we
should meet at the table for a game plan kind of day. It should never be about
you. It should be about us.
When the prodigal son came home His dad cleaned him up and threw a party. The other son threw a temper tantrum, complained about the slavery he had invested in for his Father and missed out on all the fun. Don’t miss the party because you’re looking at other folks. I’ve been guilty of it.
We love Him, because He first loved us. ~ 1 John 4:19
There are some people in our lives that are easy to love. My bestie Gloria is one such person, so are countless others. I am blessed with people. Lots of people that I call and mean it when I say they’re friends. And then there are people that I am acquaintances with via life or social media and of those I may or may not have a great depth of concern for.
certainly pull them out of the path of a truck. But I might not take them
chicken soup if they were ill. That sounds very mean. But it’s not meant to be.
It’s not that I don’t care about their health, it’s that they are not on my
radar of cares of the day. Nor am I likely on their radar either. So how
exactly did God intend for us to love one another?
our level of compassion for those outside our immediate family and friends?
For me I
only had to think about 1 John 4:19 for a split second before I realized that
before I knew God, before I realized what He did for me and when I was just
floating around in the world like a bubble on a summer day without concern for
my soul or anyone else’s… He loved me.
loved me when I was out in sin and behaving in a manner that would have made a
sailor blush. Yes, I was that kid. I grew up fast when I married and had
children, but I still didn’t know Jesus and was as filthy rags, and yet He
loved me. He maneuvered my life to get me into a position to hear the gospel in
a miraculous way that has me in awe today. He uses me even yet today when I
still fail Him miserably.
ask myself that question again about the people I don’t know. “Shari, do you
care?” I asked myself that question
about the people I’m pretty sure I don’t even like. “Do you care?”
because at any moment God could have given up on me or never thought enough of
me to waste His time and yet He did.
morning I was convicted by this thought because there are so many hurting people
that I know via ministry and social media that I don’t care enough about.
Ministry isn’t just to the pretty, easy to love people. Its’ for all people.
Even the sometimes ugly, grouchy, negative, arrogant, drunk and drugged up people. The latter of
which I have an easier time loving. The grouchy, negative, arrogant people not
wondering who might cross my path today that needs loved on? I’m wearing a new
pair of white jeans… I wonder if I’m willing to get them dirty. Isn’t that how
a doctor’s appointment for my knee this morning at 10 a.m. Perhaps it’s there
that I’ll answer that question. Maybe it will be on social media, or maybe on
an unplanned adventure. Like the one that got me saved.
It was a thought that seemed
almost foreign to me this morning as I read John 3:16…
For God so loved
the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life.
It’s likely the most widely
known and quoted verse in the bible. We say it without thinking. It just rolls
off the tongue of most Christians regardless of how long they’ve been saved. The
point being, even if you can’t quote it, you know it. But this morning, it just
seemed brand new.
Not necessarily the verse,
but rather the concept of the depth of God’s love and the vastness of His
being, and the fact… I need to repeat… the fact that He did what He did for
someone like me. A nobody. That this morning in my living room and in the home
of my friend LuAnn, God spoke to us and said, I have a work for you to do.
I received a message from my
friend Faye yesterday, and through her God said… there is a work to do.
My friend Dewey and I speak
most every day. But lately God has given us a deeper love for the ministry and
a desire to do more. There is work for us to do.
Why does God put these
awesome people in my life?
Because His concept is beyond
what anyone of us can imagine. And the possibilities of what He can do with us
are beyond what anyone of us can even think. And I know this because today John
3:16 was a brand new verse in this ol’ girls head.
The concept of the “Father,
Son and Holy Ghost” three in one has often boggled my mind. How can three be
one? It just doesn’t make sense to the earthly mindset. I’ve heard it explained
by using the illustration of the egg which has three parts (the white, yolk and
shell) yet it is one. It’s a great illustration. But it’s an egg… not God.
But lately as God deals with
me, trying to get me to a better place spiritually to where He can use me, He
speaks to my heart about understanding who He is, so I can better grasp who I
am in Him.
He is Huge!
hand also hath laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand hath
spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.
hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with
the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the
mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance.
Who did that? My God! He is
in the details.
If God can measure Heaven
with His hand, that means He’s a pretty big Fella. That means that these people
who make light of our God, should really think twice. He can flip them off of
the planet. I have to be honest, that image kind of made me giggle. And kind of
made me want to watch! But then I remembered that He could flip me off the
planet too, and that God died for the “whosever.” Not only Shari.
He Has Always Been
How can God have “always
been, and how did God, “beget” Christ, His Only Son? I don’t know. But when I
think about the Creator of the universe and His Son, who were from the
beginning, which is what the Bible tells us in John 1:1, I am somewhat
awestruck like a rock and roll fan at their favorite concert. I want to get
close enough to hear One whisper to the Other, and close enough to know them as
intimately as a bestie. But in order to do that, I have to get out of my little
brain get into Heaven as the Bible tells us we are in Ephesians 2:6 that says “And hath raised us up together, and made us
sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
That’s present time, not
futuristic. So if I’m sitting in Heavenly places, that means I should be able
to overhear a few conversations of God and His Son. So can you.
In Jeremiah 1:5 it also says
that God knew us before we were in the womb. So… exactly how long has our
conversation been going? I don’t know. But what I do know is that as a child,
before salvation, I had a desire to know God. So Jeremiah 1:5 is not hard for
me to understand. And because of that it is getting easier to understand John
He knew me, before I was me.
He chose me before I even came out of my mother’s womb and He placed me like He
placed the stars in Heaven on this piece of dirt in Calhoun County, West Virginia.
And He connected the dots with North Carolina, New Mexico, the Philippine
Islands and so many other places, in a
way that others may not understand, but I’ve experienced. So yes… I’m a fan of
my Savior. Yes, I reverently respect and fear Him because of the enormity of
Who He is. And today I feel so loved because of John 3:16.
There’s a story of a little
orphaned boy who is found on the street and a man sends him to an address with
the instruction to knock on the door and say “John 3:16.” When he gets there he
taken in, bathed, fed and tucked into his bed where he for the first time in
his life feels safe. He later says when he becomes a preacher that he didn’t
understand John 3:16 at the time but it made a dirty boy clean, a hungry boy
full and a scared boy feel safe.
Yes… yes it does. I don’t
have to comprehend the vastness of God. I can feel it.
Writer, Speaker, Singer… but most of all, Servant of Jesus Christ