Bear with the Church

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Even slightly horizontal and I am out like a light switch. Couple that together with not feeling up to par and it’s a prescription for sleep. Such was the case last night when I stayed home from church. I propped myself upon the bed and flipped open my digital device, excited to hear the Pastor continue his bible lessons on end times. I may have made it ten minutes into his lesson and then I was out. Waking up frustrated and none too happy with myself for not being more capable of staying awake. Praise God it’s recorded! So later today when I am aptly awake and sitting upright in a chair I’ll watch again, or for the 50 minutes of the lesson I slept through, I’ll watch it the first time. Seriously… aging is hard.

Another difficult thing is understanding the act of being “woke.” A term that originated in the United States (of course ) referring to a perceived awareness of issues that concern social justice and racial justice. – that according to google. However, according to the Jesus Chick, the act of being “woke” is “the unperceived awareness that most of the perceived awareness is a fabrication of unfounded emotional lies for the purpose of convincing people that they are less than God created them to be.”

As an artist I love color. I have no fear of color. Be it paint or people. Your origin of familial heritage and uniqueness only makes me love you more. My family is dark skinned on one side and pasty white on the other. I have hated my peakedness since I was a teen, wishing for the dark tanned skin of the beach babes of my day, until I traveled to the Philippines where they literally bleach their skin trying to achieve the color I am. (Minus the very unattractive varicose veins.) We are never satisfied which is why it’s so very easy to convince people that being white is a sin in and of itself. What? How did we get to this level of stupidity in this country?

Wake up world.

I really don’t care what the world thinks about my whiteness, I care only what God’s thinks about my reaction to what they think. How much of an effect has this nonsense had on me spiritually and my relationship with God’s people. For certain it has caused me to question what I say before I say it, for fear of being offensive.

Don’t poke the bear

Proverbs 18:19 KJVS

[19] A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.

This verse is what causes me to be on guard with what I say.  I have seen people on more than one occasion turn a Christian off like a staticky radio station when they try to “straighten them out on their wrong thinking.” I’ve also been the one offended when a holier than thou Christian spoke down to me because I was young in the faith and didn’t know everything they did.

When I sow seeds for the Kingdom, I want to sow them in a manner where the soil is tilled up but not dug in so deep the seed will never see the light of day. My newly sown garden plants on my kitchen counter remind me of this method. I placed the seeds gently in the soil and waited for them to sprout. When I speak to someone about the word of God I want to speak gently and let them know that I love them. I want them to feel cared for and to help them to grow. I’ll fertilize them with the Water of the Word, not the dung of the world.

Don’t Pander to the bear

Matthew 11:6 KJVS

[6] And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

Back in the day prior to my salvation, I can remember being so easily offended by outspoken Christians who I thought to be judgmental. There’s two reason I was like that. First was the fact that I was brought up in a very non-offensive home. We were taught not to hurt people’s feeling, and somewhere along the pathway of life I translated that to “don’t disagree with people. If you don’t like what they have to say, just shut up.” I think that might have just been a revelation for me. I’m a very non-confrontational person when it comes to everything, except the word of God. That’s not up for debate with me, and I’ll not argue with you but I’ll certainly tell you where I stand, offensive or not. When I got saved I got a few extra holy vertebrae in my spine that straightened me out on that. No more pandering!

The second reason I was offended by outspoken Christians was because I wasn’t saved and their words would prick my soul! It’s a red flag when I’m talking to someone and they’re all kinds of offended when I’m saying nothing offensive. The Spirit begins dealing with me too saying, “Don’t get on a high horse, you’re looking in a mirror from 25 years ago.” True story!

Don’t pay attention to Pretender Bears

Matthew 15:10-14 KJVS

[10] And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: [11] Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. [12] Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? [13] But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. [14] Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

Pretender Bears are the religious of the world. My nausea from yesterday could return very easily when I think on the putridness of religion. I grew up in it, and it angers my soul in a righteous anger that I know God is okay with, because He didn’t die for dead religions. And the damage they cause will be rooted up someday and the hierarchy of those organizations with it. Those who call themselves the church will find themselves in Hell because of their works for darkness in the name of the Light. Mercy…. that stirred me up! That’s why it’s hard for me to ignore the pretender bears. I have friends and family involved with them and I worry, because they too are often offended by me.

But Jesus said to leave them alone. We’re not going to change them, but perhaps we can pull a few out of the fire by loving them into a relationship with the Lord.

All this woke-ness really tires me out! But we must keep going in the name of the Lord and for His glory. We’ve got to shine the light in these dark places that the world is trying to take over. One of my favorite colors is clear. Is that even a color? I don’t know, but I love that the transparency of it allows me to see every color for the beauty God created it to be. Heaven has colors we’ve never even seen! I’m not offended. I can’t wait! But for now, even on days when I can “bear-ly” stand anything about this world, I remind myself I was among’em not so many years ago, and but for God’s mercy, I’d still be there.

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Shari Johnson. (aka The Jesus Chick) has been encouraging women of faith and youth for a closer walk with Christ for over ten years. Having a burden for the leadership in American Churches, much of her writing is meant to spear on the servant of God to do more for the cause of Christ in these uncertain times. With humor, transparency and solid bible teaching Shari outlines messages that are easily understood, life applicable, and often with easily remembered points to ponder in hopes that they’ll be reflected on throughout the day and serve as encouragement on the go. Her servant’s heart is grounded in her own local church believing that it is there that the greatest impact can be made and unfortunately suffers the greatest neglect across America. Shari speaks at women’s gatherings in hopes of leaving a giggle in their soul and a burning desire to serve in their own local body of believers having it said of her “I laughed, I cried, and I was drawn to the foot of the cross…” Which is what it’s all about. For information on scheduling Shari, call her direct at (304)377-6036, message her via email at talk2shari@gmail.com or find her on Facebook!

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