What to Remember When Life is Harsh

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Praise God! I’ve never professed to be perfect, else there would be so many disappointed people in my life. Mainly family, who know me all too well, but friends for sure, and general acquaintances would find me sad too. I feel I say “I’m struggling” too often, but there is no other word that would describe my week. Physically, emotionally and spiritually I’ve had the worst week ever. I topped it off by ignoring God. That really made it better, right? This is a part of the imperfections that is within me. If life hands me a bad day, or in this case a bad week, I have a tendency to give my mind leniency to wander down thoughtless pathways such as internet stories and videos that take me into someone else’s world and out of my own. It’s a coping mechanism that fails miserably and yet I try it every time. Every time. It’s as if ignoring God will allow more misery to come, which I deserve, right? That’s what Satan says. And we know he has our best interest at heart. Yes, I’m that dumb, and it’s why Eve has nothing on me in the garden. I would have taken that fruit without so much as a question.

So today, the final day of the work week, I decide that I need to put on my lipstick and pull myself together and look for a way of dealing with nasty, hurtful, people. Merry Christmas to me.

So here’s my text:

1 Corinthians 16:19-24 KJV

[19] The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. [20] All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss. [21] The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand. [22] If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha. [23] The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. [24] My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

The closing of the book of 1 Corinthians from our friend, the Apostle Paul. A man of God who more than understood being hurt. He always brings my own petty issues into perspective. although this weeks struggles weren’t all petty. Some were pretty intense. But not “Paul” intense. No one was threatening to kill me. I didn’t have to flee for my life. But I felt hatred, and that my friend is an awful, awful feeling. Especially when it comes from a person who calls them self a child of God. I mention that only so you’ll know a partial context of my week. Partial because there was more. I hate being vague, and perhaps the story can be told some day, but for now it’s too fresh, and involves other people. But take my word, it’s been a no good, very bad, week.

So the question for myself this morning is, “How do we deal with hateful, hurtful people?”

Remember the Gift of True Friendship

At the end of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians he salutes the readers. A gesture of gratitude and respect to the churches of Asia. I have wonderful friends in Asia. That was my launching point for getting away from these feelings of hurt that I feel today. The very fact that God has given me friends all over the world. Literally! I have been to churches in Asia. I could have said to them as Apostle Paul did, to the churches of Asia, I salute you. Not only do I have friends in Asia, I friends in America and other countries too! Not fake friends, but genuine friends that if I call upon them they would do all they could do to help me out. Btu I’m not apt to call on them, because I figure everyone has issues. They don’t need mine. And so I spend a week like this one, where I feel alone, angry and hurt, without God by my side, although He is, but I pretended He wasn’t so I could wallow in self pity. But this morning I am reminded once again of the faithfulness of God and His people.

Remember the Gift of Holy Kisses

My daughter Whitney is “elfing” houses this week with her cheerleading squad. For a fee they’re hiding elves in the yards of people with children for them to locate with clues and they not only receive the elf dolls, they receive a bag of elf kisses too. It’s such a cute concept, but it’s nothing compared to the holy kiss of a saint. I know it’s hard to believe, but they’re sweeter than chocolate!

A holy kiss is much more than, just a peck on the cheek. John Gil described it as this:

A holy kiss is a Christian salutation wishing all temporal, spiritual, and eternal happiness, to one another; and which, as it should be mutual, should be also hearty and sincere, and this is meant by the “holy kiss”; the allusion is to a common custom in most nations, used by friends at meeting or parting, to kiss each other, in token of their hearty love, and sincere affection and friendship for each other; and is called “holy”, to distinguish it from an unchaste and lascivious one; and from an hypocritical and deceitful one, such an one as Joab gave to Amasa, when, inquiring of his health, he took him by the beard to kiss him, and stabbed him under the fifth rib, 2 Samuel 20:9; and as Judas, who cried, hail master, to Christ, and kissed him, and betrayed him into the hands of his enemies, Matthew 26:49.

Covid has pretty much scared people away from “holy kisses” but there are still a few who trust in a providential God to take care of the matter. I pretty much go with the flow of the person I’m greeting. If they want a holy fist bump, I’m okay with that too. But I primarily want and appreciate the sincerity of the friends who I know to be true. That is sweeter than chocolate! It’s sweet because I am painfully aware of the fact that it is far more rare than reality that there are true and faithful friends even at the church house. So this morning I am focusing on the gratitude I have for the wonderful gift of real “holy kissable” people.

Remember Jesus is Coming Soon!

There’s a phrase in this scripture that I always forget what it means and I have to look it up. In verse 22 it says:

[22] If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.

Anathema meaning “accursed”

Maranatha meaning “O Lord come.”

So it basically says “if there’s anyone who doesn’t love the Lord Jesus Christ let him be accursed when the Lord comes.

There’s a final judgment that I don’t wish on my worst enemy. To be accursed is to be eternally separated from God. When I hear people curse and tell people to go to hell, I wonder how many dare to realize that that is a real place. I look at my husband, children and grandchildren, and I realize that the love I have for them is the same love  an unsaved person has for their family. The only difference being, I have the hope of eternity with my family and they do not. I can’t imagine, nor do I want imagine my family being in Hell. But that’s what happens to those who don’t love Christ. The thought is gut wrenching.

At the end of a bad week, I’m focusing today on what will be the beginning of eternity when Jesus comes. When there will be no heart ache or sadness or wickedness like we face today. If you know and love Jesus, give Him glory! If you don’t, please message me on social media or through the contact information on this blog. I need to tell you why I have the power within me to go on after a week like this. Because even when people are bad, God is sooooooooo good.

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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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