Day 256

“And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”  (Mark 7:20-23)

Wow.

Did you just read the Scripture I posted up at the top?

Shew, looks like our hearts can lead us into some pretty awful ways of living!  Wonder why we want to follow our hearts if they are leading us into such destruction?

We started this year in the blog with the idea of dwelling in God in order to learn of Him and live through Him during 2018 (and beyond).  Today’s passage is actually a vivid contrast as to what can become of us if we don’t let Christ have and rule our hearts.

If I could ask for a show of hands, I wonder how many of us would raise our hand affirming that we want to commit adultery and ruin our marriages today?  Or, how many of us would say we want to murder someone today and go to prison or be executed for our crime?  Or maybe how many of us would want to slap that woman sitting next to us in church? Hopefully ALL of our hands would remain steadfastly clasped in our laps!  Surely NONE of us would want to do any of those things….(well, maybe some of us would want to slap someone)

None of us want to ruin our lives, right?

Then why do we intentionally listen to our hearts instead of Christ?  Our hearts are leading us to destruction on ALL fronts.

“But Sheri, I am not in a relationship with anyone other than my husband!”  you say.  Then I ask you why are you flirting with that man when you go pick up your kids from school or children’s Church?  Why did you let your eyes linger in a gaze across the room to that good looking dude at Starbucks?  I’ll tell you why.  Your heart wants to take the reigns and lead you to misery and you weren’t paying attention.

I’m picking the sexual sin out here because I have heard about a LOT of lives being destroyed by this very thing recently and as much as I shouldn’t be surprised, I always am when I see another marriage and ministry crumble because of it.  Hundreds of lives have been destroyed and the testimony of another ministry sullied because one man decided to let his heart lead his passions instead of Christ.

The issue of the heart and what is guiding it is of paramount importance to each and every one of us.  We MUST run to the altar in our private time with the Lord and offer Him our heart before it tightens the grasp and throws a bridle in our mouth to take us in a direction that is contrary.

I don’t think we have to really question ourselves whether or not we are obeying God, because we KNOW when we are stepping out in our own thinking.  I do, so you must.  And the same Holy Spirit that convicts me is the One that convicts you.  But, if we can’t decide about something and are unsure, God tells us how to remedy that.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  (Hebrews 4:12)

No surprise there that God points us to HIS Word in order to find the Truth.

He doesn’t want us to stumble and He doesn’t want us to fall so God gave us a sure footing with the Scripture.  If we will place our heart on the altar, submitted and pliable to His teachings, then we are in a good spot.

Who has your life today?  Your heart or God?  It’s one or the other and the destination will be determined by your answer.

Until Next Time, Lord willing,

Sheri

 

Day 222

“I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.”  (Psalms 119:146)

What pushes us to continually seek after God and keep His testimonies?

We see His faithfulness.  It is like NONE other.

Today I am going to end the week by placing one of my most favorite passages of Scripture for you to read.

Watch what God does.

Remind yourself that THIS GOD is YOUR GOD!

“And he said, I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire. The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire. Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them. Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils. He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.”  (Psalms 18:1-17)

What a God!

What a Savior!

Are you facing a battle?

Are you in the midst of a storm?

Are you being tempted?

No matter what this day holds, you can call on God and trust that He will hear.

No matter what, you can continue to serve God and keep His Testimonies because they are Trustworthy.

Until Next Time, Lord willing,

Sheri

Day 219

“Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.”  (Psalms 119:143)

Not long after Mark and I finished language school we packed up all our belongings and put them on a 3 decker boat.  I held on to Sam who was still just a baby and I walked across the wooden plank that spanned across the dark, murky water some 8 to 10 feet below between the floating dock and the boat.  Mark led our other three little ones across one at a time as men formed a human chain and tossed crates of beer bottles to each other.  I watched in amazement as more and more people flooded the dock with their bags and wares to take up river.

Trash, excrement, and lonely flip-flops floated in the water around the banks of the Rio Negro, the tributary where I would call home for many years to come.  I put on a brave face and pretended that I wasn’t bothered by all the stares coming from the brown faces crowded around me.  Mark finally led us to our room and thankfully we didn’t have to hang in hammocks that first 36 hour trip up the river.  I walked inside the 6×6 little room that held a set of bunk beds and nothing else.  The children climbed up on the top bed and began fussing over where each of them would sleep and Sam was hungry and had to be fed.  I was tired, hot and sweaty but I knew it was time to suck it up and just do what needed to be done.

We arrived at our little jungle town and an old Datsun pick up truck drove us to our little yellow wooden house with red cement floors.  Katie and Wyatt ran to the room all four of them would share while I situated the bags and waited for several hours while Mark loaded another truck with the rest of our things.  Eventually we moved everything in the little house and life took over.

The village where we would plant our first church was another hour and a half up river but we didn’t even know about it yet.  We helped in the little Baptist church in town as we acclimated to our new life.

One night at the close of the Sunday evening service, I hauled Sam and the other three kids out to my bike.  I had gotten quite adept at riding the bicycle while carrying Sam on one hip and Katie sat on the back holding Amelia and Wyatt rode on the handle bars.  I was adjusting everyone when all of a sudden I heard a woman screaming.  Everyone ran out of the church to see what was the matter.  The street in front of the church ran parallel with the river and there was a small hill leading up to where we were all standing.

The lady continued coming our way as she screamed in Portuguese with all her might, “NO! NO! NO!  HE CAN’T DIE!  HE ISN’T SAVED!”  Women ran to her and I recognized her as one of the ladies from our church.  Crowds were forming around her and people began rushing down the street towards the bank where the large river boat we had ridden on just a few months prior had just left to make the trip downriver.

Apparently, the woman, Mrs. Grace, was married to a boat captain of a smaller vessel that had gone down river to pick up a group of visiting doctors and nurses from the Capital.  On the return trip as he navigated the waters back towards town, the larger 3 decker boat was headed his direction, but had lost power from it’s generator and was traveling in the dark.  The two boats collided in the middle of the river before one could maneuver away from the other.

Mrs. Grace’s husband jumped free according to the doctors who had also managed to escape and swim to nearby trees hanging over the sides of the water.  It was a confusing few moments as everyone realized what had happened and the captain dove back into the water to rescue his two year old son who had been sleeping in a hammock.  Sadly, they both drowned as the boat drug them to the bottom.

Mark and every other man in town who had a boat headed out to rescue those who had jumped free and they searched for hours to no avail for the captain and his son.  The following day my husband headed out at daylight to zig-zag across the waters looking for  the father and son.  Mark says he will never forget seeing the little boy floating in the middle of the waves made by the search boats.  He pulled up along side and stopped his motor as the men in his boat lifted the child’s body into the boat and then carried him to the shore.

This was an awful tragedy for this dear sister in Christ to endure.  She lost her son and also her husband in one night.  But even worse, she knew her husband was unsaved and what he was suffering in death without Christ.  Trouble and anguish had found her.

But do you know what this lady did?  She grieved, but she didn’t let Trouble and Anguish become her captors.  She wept as the bodies of her husband and son were laid to rest, but she didn’t allow the loss to consume her.  She showed up at the church for every service, read her Bible and became a testimony of God’s grace……true to her name, Mrs. Grace.

Mrs. Grace had a choice as trouble and anguish found her.  She could have become a bitter, sad, lonely old woman, but she grabbed hold of the Word of God and lived her life for the Lord.  She found her delight in the only place that could help her, the Word!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need to be reminded that my situation isn’t as bad as the devil makes me think it is.  If I will keep my sights set in and through the Bible,  I won’t become captive to the lies of the devil or his minions.  They are rendered powerless at my trust in God’s Word.  Fear is dispelled with each verse I read and claim.

Let’s dwell in the Word, even when trouble and anguish come and find us.  Let’s not allow the enemy ANY chance to tug our thoughts in the wrong direction.

Until Next Time, Lord willing,

Sheri

Day 218

“Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.”  (Psalms 119:142)

Don’t you just love being lied to?

Seriously, isn’t it such a great feeling when someone thinks so little of you that they tell you a lie for their own benefit?

It’s so awesome, isn’t it?

Being lied to just makes you happy, right?

NOT!

NOT a thousand times a thousand!

We ALL hate being lied to!  No one enjoys being played the fool.  It is a terrible feeling when you find out someone has lied or you catch them in an untruth.

So, let me ask you this:  If we hate being lied to, then why do we consistently listen to the Father of Lies?

When the devil comes to us and says, “You are unloved by God because He is too High for you, too Pure, too Holy.”  Why do we listen to him when the Bible (TRUTH) tells us:

“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.”  (John 3:16)

“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”  (1 John 4:8)

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:8)

Reject the lie of the Deceiver and embrace the Truth of the Law of God.

GOD LOVES YOU!

When the devil comes to us and says, “You don’t fit in because you are too fat or too skinny, too ugly or too pretty, too quiet or too loud, too crazy or too boring, too friendly or too unfriendly….etc.”. Why do we listen to him when the Bible (TRUTH) says:

“To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”  (Ephesians 1:6)

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  (Ephesians 2:10)

YOU ARE ACCEPTED!

When the devil comes around and says, “Who do you think you are to serve God?  Your children don’t measure up to their children and your spouse is not as great as their spouse, and your ministry doesn’t measure up to their ministry, and your life is not as great as their life.”  Why do we listen to him when the Bible (TRUTH) clearly says:

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”  (2 Corinthians 10:12)

But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.”  (2 Corinthians 10:17-18)

And I will repeat….

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  (Ephesians 2:10)

YOU ARE ENOUGH!

Listen, we need to recognize that the devil will always be out to twist the Truth.  He has been doing it since the Garden of Eden and he won’t stop.  The Bible is the One Thing you can pattern your life by and know that you are walking in the right direction!  There is such a peace in that.

When the Bible says something, you can trust IT!  When God says He hates something, you should hate it.  When God says to obey something, you should obey it.  When God says to forsake something, you should forsake it.

When God says He loves you, you can lay your head on your pillow and block out every single other voice in the world and know for a fact…..GOD LOVES YOU.

Yep.  He loves you when you are good, He loves you when you are bad.  He wants you to look into His Word and learn and be helped when you have erred, but He still loves you with all His love.

And He loves you NO MATTER how other people in churches, your family or your ex makes you feel.

Whether you woke up today behind bars in a cold prison cell or you woke up in a penthouse on the upper east side of New York City, God loves you and wants the best for your life.

Whether you have the memory of an abortion or you set a table for twelve in your home where you have raised ten children and homeschooled them all, God loves you equally and God wants to fellowship with you.

Whether you ate cheesecake and cried for three hours in depression or went to the gym and checked off a list of chores, God loves you and wants to be the One you are listening to and living for.

No one is a throw away in the sight of God.

Read the Word.  Dwell in Truth.

Jesus said:

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”  (John 17:17)

Until Next Time, Lord willing,

Sheri

 

 

 

Day 208

“Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.”  (Psalms 119:132)

This week I have been helping my husband teach 3 classes a day at a Vacation Bible School here in the state of Maine.  We start with 1st – 3rd grade, then have 4 and 5 year olds and then 4th – 6th grades.  Oh how my heart has been touched by their little smiles and friendly chatter as they come bursting through the door to see what is next.

There is one thing I have observed though that pains me and that is the lonely, sad, angry and pitiful looks behind some of their eyes.  It gradually worsens with each age group and I feel somewhat helpless as I know I cannot reach inside their lives and fix what is causing that sadness.

I commented to my friend that it makes me wonder if today’s children have seen too much or know too much because of television and the internet that we didn’t have to combat with when we were children.  I used to be happy swinging upside down from the pear tree in my backyard or sitting on top of the old shed reading a book.  I was a kid and I lived like one. But the devil still managed to get at me.

I remember the very moment a a child when my life held it’s first piece of inner turmoil.  It wasn’t when mama cut her leg with a tin can and I saw the blood gushing out and daddy running her to the hospital.  It wasn’t when grandpa fell in the shower and I sat in the hospital waiting room as the adults talked about the fact he had died.  It wasn’t when we ran over my kitty cat on the way to town.  It wasn’t when I lost my mom’s engagement ring down the tub drain or even when the trailer caught fire.

No, it was the moment I was snooping around in the house of a relative and went to see what was under their bed and I found a dirty magazine.  My little mind couldn’t handle what I saw.  That was the very second I know that part of my innocent childhood was taken from me.  It was not long after I had seen that awful filth that an older brother of a friend cornered me in her house as we played one day and he tried to harm me.  Again, part of my childhood seemed to be stolen away.  And I believe my wide eyed optimism of the world stopped during that time and a cynicism entered. Along with the new distrust I felt I was also filled with a desire for something clean that I didn’t know how to explain at that age.  I remember sitting and listening to Billy Graham preach on television and I felt a longing to be important to someone other than mommy and daddy….I wanted God to see me.

That is the look I have seen this week in the children at VBS.  They have seen and heard too much for their little minds and they want something to remove that icky feeling that they don’t know how to explain.  They have come to the church house in order to participate in fun and games with their friends, but you can’t tell me they aren’t searching for SOMEONE to really see them.  When I ask them to sing “Jesus Loves Me” they stand and sing with all their hearts.  I watch each of their faces and I realize that they don’t know how to NOT love God’s name, they just do because they haven’t learned to consider anything else.

I believe the devil is hard after them to make that final death blow to their conscience, just like he has so many others over the course of time.

Praise be to God, you and I can intervene on the behalf of these children all over the country where we serve.  As we long for God in our own lives like the psalmist, and we raise our hands to Him and ask Him to see us, and we continue to love His name, we can also pray that the little ones coming behind us will find Him early in their lives before the ugliness of sin dominates them.

Yes, we need to pray.

Yes, we need to seek God for our lives.

But don’t forget the young American, the young Brazilian, the young Chinese, the young African, the young Russian, the young Islander, the young Canadian, the young Japanese, the young Israeli, the young Pakistani, the young European, the young Australian….the young.  Could we not include them in on our prayers?

The psalmist makes note of the fact that he wants God’s mercy because he loves His name.  Do you love God’s name?  Then do what He did, care about others.

Let’s dwell in God in a form that is not selfish.  Let’s be the ones who get help so that WE can offer help to those lonely little hearts looking for peace.

Until Next Time, Lord willing,

Sheri

Day 207

“I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.”  (Psalms 119:131)

Recently I was at an old fashion, outdoor, preaching service in Pennsylvania called a Campmeeting.  I had several burdens on my heart that I truly desired God to help me with and I went each morning and evening with an expectation of what He would do.

God did not allow me to leave any of the services disappointed.

“And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”  (Psalms 50:15)

One thing the psalmist says in our verse for today is descriptive of how I felt each time the services began at the Campmeeting.  I was longing after His Commandments.  My heart was open and pleading for God to speak through the singing and preaching of His Word.

The word “panted” here in verse 131 means to be inhaling air.  Imagine after you have been jogging (or in my out-of-shape state, climb ONE flight of stairs) you open your mouth for something your lungs desperately need….oxygen.

When we have been doing all we can in life to care for our families, our ministries and ourselves, we can come to the point of spiritually panting after God’s Word to give us our next breath.

During the week God spoke to me through the Scripture as one preacher from Virginia got up to preach.  As I felt like I was on my last intake of breath in life, God reached down and resuscitated me.  No one else in that place or anywhere else in the world outside of my husband knew the struggle I was experiencing and a decision I had recently made in my personal life.  I was overwhelmed and trying to figure things out and wondered if I was doing the right thing, and God saw me panting after Him.  He saw me longing for HIS answer and no one else’s.

“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”  (Psalms 27:13-14)

The Word of God is so important, so precious and so vital if we are going to succeed as Christians in our walk.  I don’t want to fail the Lord and I sure don’t want to live a defeated life when He offers me VICTORY.

If you are filling your mind and heart with everything else as you try to satisfy that need of “something”, give God’s Word a try.  I can absolutely garuntee you that it will be the VERY thing to give you life when you feel like you are dying.

Until Next Time, Lord willing,

Sheri

Day 204

“Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.”  Psalms 119:128

This verse means absolutely nothing to the person that does not believe in the Bible as their sole Authority.

As a spiritually born again believer, I have chosen to put my faith and my trust in Jesus Christ for my salvation.   I do not believe anything or anyone else can have a part in my going to heaven to spend an eternity with God.  There is no wavering on this subject for me because the Holy Spirit of God confirmed it in my heart the moment I realized I was a sinner and accepted Christ as the One and the ONLY One Who could save me from those sins.

But why do I believe that?  Why can I continue with my life as a missionary in Brazil?  What gives me the conviction to live for a God I have never seen and have never heard audibly speak?

His Word.

I believe that every other person ever born before me (not including Jesus) and every person that will be born after me is just as much as a wicked sinner as I am.  I believe they all were and all will be destitute and in need of Savior.  There is no good found in man on his own.  You can’t make me believe it, I don’t care how morally they live, people sin and they are imperfect. (Of course we all know some who act as though they don’t ever sin, trust me, they do and the Holy Spirit convicts them of it just like He does you and me)

So if everyone is a sinner, how can I place my trust in what book they have written, what religion they have founded and what teachings they have taught?  I can’t.  I won’t.

Jesus Christ, the Word according to John 1, is the Only One Who has lived on this earth without sin and then done something for me that NO one else has ever done.  He loved me with an untainted love, an unconditional love and a never ending love.  He proved that love for me when He died on the cross as an act of payment for my sins.  He didn’t ask anything of me for what He did, He just loved me and He died for me.  And He didn’t stop there!  He then conquered death for me!  NO OTHER person has EVER done this for me.  NONE!  He rose up from His grave and He brought me NEW life.

Jesus didn’t just do these things for me, He also inspired and preserved His Word for me so I can get to know Him better before my eternity begins.  He doesn’t beat me over the head with the Bible, He simply offers it to me as a help to know how to live here on this sin filled earth.  He knew and knows that I would have to make decisions in this flesh.  He knew and knows that I would need hope, healing and be heard.  He gave me the Word so that I can be assured of all those things.

I don’t need the teachings of some other human who contradicts the Bible, because they never loved me, they never gave their life for me and they sure don’t give me power to live this life from day to day.

I can’t depend on myself to think and act correctly either.  I CANNOT get myself to Heaven.  I am too wicked.  As good and as moral as I try to live, I still sin against my Righteous and Holy God.  Without Jesus Christ, I am hopeless.

So I agree with today’s verse, I love the Bible, I trust it as my absolute authority and It helps me see and hate every false way.

The Bible is precious.  It is sitting on the bed in front of me as I type and my heart longs to be pouring over It’s pages.  My soul yearns to know just a little bit more about this One who loves me.  Silly, spontaneous, awkward me.  He loves me.  He wants ME to spend the rest of eternity with Him.  He wants ME to know Him on a personal and real level.

Is the Bible your abosolute authority?

Are you listening to teachings of men BEFORE studying what God has to say?  Be careful.

Dwell in His Word and let HIS Word and His Spirit be what you trust before anything else.

Until Next Time, Lord willing,

Sheri