Wednesday, August 31, 2011


First impressions.

I'm usually pretty good at them.

Like the first time I met my high school bus driver. I knew she was going to be mean. Her name was Mrs. Ferrari – and let me tell you, it was an oxymoron if there ever was one! It would have been like calling Shaquille O'Neal "Mr. VW Beetle." She was built like a tank, and had a drill sergeant personality.

I was scared to death of her.

Rightfully so. She demanded total law and order on her bus. Sure, it was noisy – what bus isn't?! But, the rules were obeyed, and no one got away with anything.

As the year went on, I began to learn that Mrs. Ferrari wasn't quite as mean as she seemed. Yes, she was strict – but she cared for her students. She'd taken the time to get to know some of our names, and she even smiled once in awhile (I think it was every other Friday…)

She played the radio for us.

I still thought she was stern – but I began to see something else in her, too. She actually was a very nice personpatient and tolerant.

Like the one time that a group of boys, who liked to banter with her, executed a good-natured squirt gun attack on the last week of school.

I expected Mrs. Ferrari to go ballistic.

She didn't. She laughed, and took it in the joking manner in which it was intended. I was pretty surprised actually. But my surprise was about to be taken to the next level.

On the last day of school, all of a sudden the bus stopped in front of a house several blocks away from our regular bus stop. What??

Just then, two guys came running out from behind the house, dragging a garden hose along with them. The doors of the bus flew open, they handed the nozzle of the hose to Mrs. Ferrari, and she yelled out at the top of her lungs…


Well, the entire bus got a soaking that I will never forget! We were scrambling and laughing it was a pool party gone mad! And no one laughed harder than Mrs. Ferrari – who also ended up completely sopping wet.

Mrs. Ferrari had become our friend – and we all hugged her good-bye for the summer.

I was wrong on this first impression – and it's always served as a reminder to me that often a "book can't be judged by its cover."

Even Jesus.

Especially Jesus.

I always thought He was a mild-mannered, meek, slightly "Renaissance-y feminine" sort of person. Many of the depictions I saw of Him only served to reinforce this image. I loved Him – oh yes I did – but I definitely had Him filed under *passive.*

Until I read through the Gospels.

Jesus was no wimp. He was all the things that a hero should be.

Intelligent, clever, forthright, opinionated, strong, independent – perfectly balanced with humility, kindness, goodness, and devotion to His Father.

I've been a Christian my whole lifebut I didn't get to know Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible, the unexpected Jesus – until I was an adult.

And every day that I follow Him, I get to know Him even better.

He's my hero.

So, are there any people in your life who deserve a second look?

What about Jesus?

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, August 29, 2011



Our adversary – our enemy.

He is the Father of Lies.

But I've been thinking – of all his lies, which one is the worst?

I used to think it was this one – There is no God.

I remember in college hearing the onslaught of scientific, philosophical, sociological arguments against the existence of God. I didn't buy into any of it.

However, there were moments in the secret places of my heart, when a small doubt would niggle its way in. Human, I think – I'm pretty sure that we've all had that thought cross our minds at some point…

It bothered me more when I was younger – maybe I hadn't yet amassed years of experience that told me otherwise.

So, I don't think that’s the enemy's worst lie.

I think the worst one is this.

God exists. But He isn't good, and He doesn't care.

That one is THE WORST.

Because that is the one that can fool us into moving away from God.

Satan lives in the shadows of doubt. He does his best work taking potshots from the dark. He's the worm in the apple that nibbles its way into the core of our hearts, and eats away at our trust, and begins to rot our faith.

If we listen.

That's the challenge – turning a deaf ear to his incessant lies.

Last year I posted something about his rambling.

I've re-tooled that post a little bit, and I'm going to re-share it with you today!


I'm not exactly a bird lover...but I love a good bird story!

I was lucky enough to know four of my great-grandparents! My mom's dad's parents (did you follow along with that?!) were the sweetest people around. I loved visiting with them. Except for one thing...

They had a very mean parrot!!

Her name was Polly. Ordinarily, the image I think of when I hear the name Polly is, well...that wonderful old Hayley Mills movie "Pollyanna." Pollyanna was such a sweet, lovely young girl. I even looked up "Pollyanna" in the dictionary. Know what it said? A person characterized by irrepressible optimism and a tendency to find good in everything. Yup, that's what I thought. So, this parrot, Polly, should have been a nice bird!

No way...

Think of the scary witch in "Snow White" - enough said!

My best recollections of Polly are how big she was, how pretty her colors were, and the words I inevitably heard the minute I walked in the front door: "Don't get near the cage!" I also remember my grandfather pulling me aside one time, and telling me his deepest secret - "It's OK. She doesn't like me, and I don't like her either!"

Then he winked at me...

I once asked my mom about the story behind this remark. Evidently, my grandfather and this parrot had a loooooong history. My grandfather was one of only two children in his family - the oldest of two brothers.

The parrot played favorites.

She LOVED Walter, the younger brother, and hated my grandfather. He told my mom that he couldn't understand it - he had never done anything to warrant such malice. Never teased her, never poked things at her, never said, "I really wanted a parakeet." It was just one of those things.

But, my grandfather had a VERY good reason for not liking Polly.

She was really a *stool pigeon* in disguise.

Growing up, that parrot would tattle on my grandfather. When he would try to sneak home late (which, knowing him, wasn't very often), Polly would squawk at the top of her little avian lungs, "Donald's home...Donald's home!" Yeah, you get the picture! Polly was an annoying, accusing, threatening, mean old parrot.

ON and ON and ON...

But, she was caged!

You know, the devil does the same thing. Rattling on and on those insidious messages – those cruel accusations – those self-defeating thoughts. He whispers, finagles, twists, pokes, and tangles. He never shuts up…

One night, when I couldn't fall asleep, God gave me a tremendous insight – and a picture came to my mind (Thank you, Holy Spirit!) - Satan is nothing more than a parrot squawking away on my shoulder!

What a glorious revelation!

It completely freed my spirit. The three mistakes we can make about the devil are these:
1) think he doesn't exist
2) underestimate him
3) give him more power than he has.

I have always been sort of afraid of Satan. But now, God has brought him *down to size.* He's just an annoying parrot on my shoulder - always accusing, threatening, and mean.

But, he is CAGED!

How did Jesus resist the devil?

He used Scripture!

• "Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil...Then after the battle you will still be standing firm." (Ephesians 6:11, 13)

• "...hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil."
(Ephesians 6:16)

• "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)

• "We capture [all] rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ."
(2 Corinthians 10:5)

• "Stand firm against [the devil], and be strong in your faith." (1 Peter 5:9)

• "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet." (Romans 16:20)

• "Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, 'It has come at last - salvation and power and the Kingdom of God, and the authority of his Christ...[Satan] the one who accuses them before our God day and night...[has been defeated] by the blood of the Lamb...'" (Revelation 12:10-11)

So when that mean old parrot, Satan, sits squawking on my shoulder, "Polly wants a cracker!" - I'm going to give him a little *bread of life!*

Take that, and BE QUIET!!!

How do you resist the devil and stop his squawking?

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Sunday, August 28, 2011

BIBLE PICK 'EMS - Stand Firm in the Faith

I've got one brother.

I love him dearly.

We were born only three years apart, and growing up we were fast friends. I can remember all the hours we spent together – playing army or detective or shipmates. Or the times we assembled car and plane models – (man, we got loopy on that stupid old glue!) Or when we went on family adventures.

My brother was a lot of fun.

Sure, he teased me unmercifully (what are brothers for?) – but he was always someone very special to me.

Now, what if he had come to me one day and announced that he was the Son of God?

I'm thinking I would have quickly told my parents, whom I'm sure would have gotten him some immediate psychological help…

So, I wonder what it was like for Jude – one of Mary and Joseph's sons, Jesus' half-brother.

Did he think his brother was crazy?

"Who does Jesus think he is?? I mean, evidently he thinks he's the Messiah – but I've never heard of anything so preposterous! Son of God indeed! He's just a poor carpenter's son like all the rest of us. What has gotten into him? I sure hope insanity isn't hereditary."

The Bible makes it clear that Jude and the other brothers of Jesus did not follow Him during His earthly ministry. ("For even his brothers didn’t believe in him." – John 7:5) And I think that makes perfect sense. Would you believe one of your siblings if they came up with this impossible claim?

But, something happened to dramatically change that perspective.

The Resurrection.

One of the reasons that I completely believe in the resurrection of Christ, besides the fact that I completely believe the Word of God, is this transformation of His brothers. Nothing in life could have altered their view of Jesus unless it was a life-altering event.

And an empty tomb is the evidence of that life-changing miracle.

So, when Jude, now a strong believer in Jesus CHRIST (the anointed Messiah, the true Son of God), has something to say – I want to pay close attention.

The book of Jude speaks out against an outbreak of false teaching. In the beginning of the book, he explains the situation that prompted his letter – (incidentally, it's a different letter than he had planned to write). I find it interesting that Jude, who at one time most likely thought his brother was a false teacher, now finds it extremely urgent to fight against those who do not believe the Truththe truth that God had revealed in His Son, Jesus Christ.

What does Jude tell us about false teachers?

1. They are ungodly.
2. They will worm their way into our churches.
3. They will say that God's grace allows us to live immoral lives.
4. They will claim their own authority.
5. They will defy other forms of authority.
6. They will scoff at supernatural beings.
7. They will do what their natural instincts tell them.
8. They will deceive people for money.
9. They will flatter others to get what they want.
10. They will brag loudly about themselves.
11. They will create divisions.
12. They are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck believers.
13. They are selfish, shameful people who are doomed to destruction.
14. They do not have God's Spirit in them.


Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" is Jude's call to remain faithful:

"But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God's love." (Jude 1:20-21)

Yes, we are called to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, but we must uphold each other while we do it. We must be careful not to fall into the quicksand of compromise. We must be sure that our own footing is safe and secure.

We must remain rooted and grounded in the Lord whom we trust.

Jude knew that his brother, Jesus, was the Way, the Truth, and the Life – that's why I listen to his words of encouragement…

Remain firm in your faith.
Trust in God's promises for your future.
Don't be tempted to give in to sin.
Don't be afraid or give up in despair.
God will keep you from falling.

"All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen." (Verses 24-25)

Hey, Jude – thanks for the great word today!

How do you remain firm in your faith – and how do you fight against false teaching?

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Welcome to "Quaint Words!”

These posts will contain thoughts, poems, and prayers from old books that I have found at antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales (with an occasional treasure from a bookstore).

I love the rhythm and sound of the older English language, and am blessed by other believers who have gone before me!

"All those minds shall be truly stayed, that are stayed on God. They shall be as Mount Zion, firm as it is; a mountain supported by providence, much more as a holy mountain supported by promise. They cannot be removed from confidence in God...

Committing themselves to God, they shall be safe from their enemies. Even mountains may molder and come to nothing, and rocks be removed, but God's covenant with his people cannot be broken, nor his care of them cease.

Their troubles shall last no longer than their strength will bear them up under them. The rod of the wicked may come...only it cannot reach their souls. And though it come upon their lot, it shall not rest thereon.

The Lord will make all work together for their good...

God considers the frame of his people, and will proportion their trials to their strength by the care of his providence, as well as their strength to their trials by the power of his grace."

(From "Daily Readings by Matthew Henry" by Matthew Henry, c. 1662-1714)

(A listing of books and authors, and also dates of individual postings from those books, will be found on my "QUAINT WORDS" page)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, August 26, 2011

"FAN THE FLAME" FRIDAY - Coincidence

Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a phrase, a sentence or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: coincidence

What does the word coincidence mean?

Do you think there's a difference between a coincidence and a "divine appointment"?

What is one time when you knew that a coincidence truly came from the hand of God?

Let me know what you think!!

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Monday I told you how God was a comedian.

Today I'm going to tell you how He has a heart of gold.

The last 24 hours (I'm writing this on Monday) have been chock-full of bad news…

First of all, my only aunt died. I was very close to her. It was quite a blow – especially when the news came from my father. He wouldn't let my mom tell me, because it was his brother's wife. Now I love my dad, but *sensitive delivery* is not his forte. Therefore, this difficult message came in the form of a one-sided conversation – all business – with few details – and a quick hang-up. Oh well.

Good news is that my aunt was a strong believer, and I know that I'll see her again someday.

Then, my sons' truck developed all sorts of problemsall of a sudden – and that meant $$$ - and an inconvenient overnight stay at the mechanic.

And finally, my dearest grandbeagle Marty started acting weird – skittish and tentative. And he would yelp at the most ordinary movements. Well, one trip to the vet's office determined that he has a back injury. Oh, dear. I think he's going to be OK – but it's something that we'll have to keep our eye on. (Sidenote: Would you please keep him in your prayers?)

All of this news is hitting me after a very long summer of health issues and concerns, car troubles, two different debit card numbers stolen, random family stuff, financial demands, and a seemingly never-ending onslaught of anxiety-producing shots of adrenalin.

Let me tell you, I don't handle regular life too well most of the time (!!) – and this has all been a bit (a lot) overwhelming for me.

So, I had just finished talking with my sons as "The Hub" and I were driving home from our out-of-town trip on Monday. I had just found out the bad news about Marty and the truck.

I hung up, and started to cry.


"Lord, where are You? I feel so alone right now. I feel so nervous and confused. I feel so overwhelmed. I don't know what to do."

And then, I saw it – The Sign.

Nailed to a random telephone pole in the middle of nowhere was a small orange poster with these words on it:


Yes, it was – right there, right then.

I'm not kidding – I saw God smile.

He did.

And I realized something…

Sometimes I focus so much on my problems that I forget to remember The Answer. Sometimes I get so nervous that I forget to rely on The Prince of Peace. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed by the tide of my struggles that I forget that The Master of the Storm is the One who stands beside me.

Once He calmed the sea, and once He walked on water.

And that's what He's going to do with me. He will either calm the storm of *stuff* that's been hitting my personal "fan" lately, or He will walk on water in the middle of the storm and invite me to walk with Him through the waves.

Either way, He's there.



There's the secret.

Trust, don't fret. Trust, don't worry.

Jesus, not yourself. Jesus, not circumstances.

You see, He's got a heart of gold. And lately, He's been showing it to me in the most unexpected ways.

In a butterfly, on a poster –

I may not have seen a burning bush – but I tell you what, I've been fortunate to find smoldering shrubs all over the place!

Thank you, Lord – You are always there, and ever near.

How has the Lord made His presence known to you lately?

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, August 22, 2011


OK, so God has a sense of humor.

And He once again showed me how he is the Master of Timing.

Last week I posted about a little Pity Party that I had. The post appeared on Wednesday. Well, early Wednesday morning, "The Hub" and I left to go out of town for a few days. I only had the chance to check the computer to see if the post had published, before I had to hop in the car and get going – (After the Blogger fiasco of earlier this year, I'm a little wary about *assuming* that posts get posted…just sayin').

All was well…except that I was feeling quite unsettled about the honest *baring of my soul.*

So, as mile after mile passed under the tires of our car, I was fretting…

And I was praying, too.

"Oh Lord, I hope people won't be offended by this post. Was I too honest? Will they think that I was being self-indulgent? Will people wonder why I didn't title it The Sharon Show??"

Just then I looked out the window.

And right at that moment we were passing a semi – you know, one of those huge trucks that scare you to death when you have to drive by them (or is that just me?). I digress – I looked over at the truck and glanced at the trucking company name…

Pride Transport.

Yup, that was the actual name.

And for a second I stopped mid-prayer. Was this a sign of conviction from God? Well, yes and no. At first, I had to laugh. It was just too ironic, too timely, not to have been humorous. Lord, You are a comedian!

But then I got to thinking.

What does pride really look like?

I think it's pretty easy to recognize it in its most obvious costume. There are plenty of people in the entertainment business that make a living out of being self-indulgent. Their faces are plastered all over magazines at the check-out lines at drugstores and supermarkets.

Oh, look at me – aren't you as wildly interested in every little tidbit of my life as I am?

What about television? How many versions of the same reality show can we watch? People talking about themselves, worrying about the most petty things, living the most extravagant lifestyles.

Oh, look at me – doesn't it concern you like it does me when I'm going to get my next Botox treatment?

And don't get me started on politics. It truly doesn't matter what party affiliation you belong to. I'm not sure that we can trust anyone. Just seems to me that all we're offered anymore is an endless parade of big, puffed up talking heads none of whom speak the truth – because their egos get in the way.

Oh, look at me – don't you think I can solve the problems of the world like I think I can?

So, pride – yeah, it's fairly recognizable…

But what is pride in its more subtle forms? What does pride look like when it dresses incognito?

Well, at least sometimes, it looks like us (like me, to tell the truth).

Pride is not just arrogance.

Sometimes it is a need for attention, approval, and accolades.


Last year, on Good Friday, we were asked during the service at our church to write down on cards something that we wanted God to *crucify* in us. (I wrote down three, by the way.) Then we went to wooden crosses set up in the building, and we literally nailed our cards (and what they represented) to the cross.

One of the things that I chose was my need for approval.

That was last year.

It occurs to me that perhaps it would have been more truthful if I had used a thumbtack because I have removed that particular issue from the cross so many times. Nailed (thumbtacked?) it back on the cross, taken it down and played around with it again, and then tried to nail it to the cross again…

You know why it's been so hard to let go of it?

Well, I'll tell you at least one reason. It's because God took me seriously.

And when you tell God you want to *crucify* something, you'd better be ready for how He's going to do it. It's probably not going to come in a neatly tied up package. Like this *approval* thing – did I just suddenly have this peaceful influx of humility into my heart?


What happened was that God started to carve away the pride.

God tells us, in no uncertain terms, that we should have no other gods before Him. I take that to heart.

But, God began to show me that although I don't worship idolsthere was a teeny, tiny Sharon *doll* on the shelf of my heart that I paid an awful lot of attention to…

And so, He got to work.

He's put me through refining fire, chiseled and molded, pulled and stretched, cut and scraped and scoured.

Oh Lord, aren't you done yet?

Evidently not – because I still have a little box of thumbtacks in my pocket…

This is the exquisite way that God works in us. He doesn't put band-aids on the sin-diseased spots – He uses alcohol to purify, He scrubs the infection cleanin other words, He digs around in the most painful areas so they can be healed.

He won't leave us alone.

He loves us too much.

Oh Lord, save me from myself – save me from my SELF.

(SIDENOTE: Sharon's Acrostic Dictionary defines pride this way:

P roudly and
R idiculously
I nsisting on
D oing
E verything

Doesn't that sound perfectly awful?)

Where is God digging around in your life?

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

BIBLE PICK 'EMS - Strength For Today

Poor Jeremiah.

He was a prophet that endured.

His audiences were usually apathetic or antagonistic. He was often ignored, and his life was threatened. He had seen the excitement of spiritual awakening in his nation under King Josiah of Judah. But he also lived to agonize over his nation's return to idolatry.

He saw fellow prophets murdered. He felt his people reject God's love.

Even when he was angry with God and tempted to give up, Jeremiah knew he had to keep going.

God had called him to endure.

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" is an excerpt from a little dialogue that God had with Jeremiah:

"Do not be afraid of them…For see, today I have made you strong like a fortified city that cannot be captured, like an iron pillar or a bronze wall. You will stand…They will fight you, but they will fail. For I am with you, and I will take care of you. I, the LORD, have spoken!" (Jeremiah 1:17-19)

Jeremiah had a difficult task. God knew that. And He promised to be with Jeremiah.

We can take this message to heart, too.

Our problems may not seem as *ominous* as Jeremiah's (unless you read the newspaper or watch the news!!) – but they are critical to us, and we often feel overwhelmed.

But God gives us the same promise that He gave Jeremiah – nothing will defeat us completely. HE will help us through the most overpowering struggles and situations.

I'd like to finish by focusing on one word from our verses – the word TODAY.

I love how the LORD says that He will make us strong…today.

How often are we daunted because we insist on looking forward into the futurea future that seems so ominous and out of our control?

It's important to remember that the same God who provided manna in the wilderness – manna for each day, I might add – is the One who gives us our daily bread.

Give us THIS day our daily bread.

We are provided the strength we need to face today – today! There isn't strength for tomorrow until tomorrow arrives. God is a present helpand I believe that means He operates best in our NOW.

So, what are you facing today?

Financial problems, health issues, family difficulties, spiritual challenges?

Well, God has a message for you –

"Do not be afraid of all those things.
Do not be afraid of the enemy.
For see, today I have made you strong like a fortified city that cannot be captured, like an iron pillar or a bronze wall.
You will stand.
Oh, life will fight you, and prepare for some enemy attacks.
But life will not defeat you, and the enemy will fail.
For I am with you, and I will take care of you."

And I just LOVE this ending…

"I, the LORD, have spoken!"

Yes, indeed He has.

What do you need God's strength for – today? How can you trust God for His daily bread?

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Welcome to "Quaint Words!”

These posts will contain thoughts, poems, and prayers from old books that I have found at antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales (with an occasional treasure from a bookstore).

I love the rhythm and sound of the older English language, and am blessed by other believers who have gone before me!

"Jesus protests against the tendency to compare one's self with another to the other's disadvantage. He does not protest against the legitimate desire for the greatness that consists in being one's best and doing his utmost, but against the desire to see another man less than one's self in any particular.

The normal child simply and spontaneously does his best. This is the spirit of the Kingdom of Heaven.

It is...the expression of one's power for the good of others and the desire to see others, also, make their highest possible contribution to the general welfare. Jesus Himself is identified in spirit with every quiet soul that desires to do his utmost...

O God, may there be something in my life that shall inspire every one who comes within its reach to be his best and do his utmost."

(From "Christ in Everyday Life" by Edward Increase Bosworth, c. 1910)

(A listing of books and authors, and also dates of individual postings from those books, will be found on my "QUAINT WORDS" page)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, August 19, 2011


Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a phrase, a sentence or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: polite

What does it mean to be polite?

Do you think people are becoming more or less polite?

Is there ever a danger in being too polite - and what would that mean?

Let me know what you think!!

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I've really debated about writing this post.

I'm all for baring my soul, but this is pretty naked…

But, I feel led to be this honest with you.

So, you're invited to the Pity Party. Yup, whining and complaining will abound. "Woe is me" is the secret password. Oh, poor pitiful me…

You see, lately I've been wearing green-eyed glasses. Looking at other people's pastures, and convincing myself that they are indeed greener.

Now, I am not caught up in wanting a bigger house, or a new car, or any of a number of material things. "Keeping up with the Joneses" is not my particular temptation. (Who are those silly Jones people anyway??)

No, my Pity Party isn't about worldly things.

It's worse than that.

It's about spiritual things.

You see, what I really want is a *bigger* ministry. OK, that's the really, really "naked" part – the ugly part I'm so ashamed of – the part that I feel I must be honest about, even if it hurts.

Do you ever feel this way – (another one of those moments when it would be really good to know that I'm not alone…)

I am feeling restless, and impatient. I desire so deeply to make an impact for the Lord. I want to have a *voice* for Him. I want to use any gifts that He's given me. And yet, I feel like I'm sitting on the sidelines, warming the bench while everyone else is being called into the game.

(Oh, this is ugly…)

On the one hand, I am overjoyed that people are speaking for the Lord. That their words are getting out to people. That God's Kingdom is being advanced with the gifts and talents of others.

I really, really am happy about this.


And that is the rub. The selfish "but" that I have. The "hitch" that I have in my heart. The ugly little voice that says deep in my soul, "Lord, what about me?"

(Oh, I am so ashamed…)

I know that in some ways this is a good desire. The Lord calls us to serve Him, and a desire to serve Him isn't bad in itself – not at all. However, when God's timing doesn't match ours, and when His timing seems to be happening for others – that's when the insidious arrows of the enemy start flying…

And I have all too often allowed myself to be a target.

Lord, forgive me.

Again, the same voice that I have heard over and over – and the same words that I can't escape…

"Sharon, is it really just Me?"

I blogged about this before. How we really need to love God, and God alone, even more than what we can do FOR Him. It has to be about Him…alone.

So, to my surprise (but not really) – God showed up today at my Pity Party.

He sat down.

And my whining and complaining stopped. My "woe is me" quickly turned into just WHOA.

He didn't say anything until I sat down quietly. I put my head in my hands, and I cried. I let out everything to Him.

"Lord, I really love You. I really do. Most of all. But I just want to feel like it matters that I'm here. I just want to know that I have an influence on others. I want to share You with them, and I want to be noticed for it. Oh Lord, forgive me – it all sounds so selfish."

I couldn't look at Him – until He took His hand and raised my chin so He could look deeply into my eyes.

Wonder of wonders, His eyes had tears, too.

"Lord, why are You crying?"

He smiled.

"Oh dear one, I am crying because You don’t understand something so very important."

I thought – it has to be that I'm a selfish, jealous, proud person. He must be so disappointed with me.

"I know, Lord. I'm so sorry."

"No, Sharon. I'm not talking about that. Those feelings are not right, but they're human. I forgive you for those. But I am talking about this – you don't understand how very, very much I LOVE YOU. How I delight in you. How it just pleases Me so to know that you are alive, and that someday you will be with Me in eternity…

…I am sad that your perspective is so small."

Tears are pouring down my face now.

"How I wish you understood this truth – that it isn't what you can DO for Me that matters to Me, for it is up to Me what and when and where you serve Me. What touches Me is that you WANT to serve Me. I am overjoyed at your love. It's what I died for. It is YOU – just YOU – that matters to Me.

It's all about your heart, and about conforming to the image of My Son. It isn't the action of doing that I want, it's the being of sanctification that I'm seeking."

Dear God – my dear, dear God.

"Love Me, Sharon – and that's more than enough. Because I love you – and that's more than enough."

Yes, it is.

Green glasses off – for a new purpose I see.

LOVE the Lord with all my heart, my soul, my mind, and my strength…

This Pity Party is officially OVER!

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, August 15, 2011


Bone weary tired.

Ever feel like that?

Let me tell you about a time when I was so very tired. It happened when I was in the 5th grade (yes, waaay back then…). I was a rather active, normal child until one day I started feeling really run down.

After a while, my mom got concerned – after all, a weary 10-year-old is not a normal thing. She took me to the doctor.

You know, I really hated the doctor because I was TERRIFIED of needles. I used to faint…

Yup, needle in – Sharon down.

So, visits to the doctor were quite traumatic for me.

But this time, when my mom took me to the doctor, I didn't care. I felt so awful that it didn't matter what they did to me. They ran lots of tests, including several blood workups. My blood counts were all off – fortunately, I did not have leukemia – but I did have an unusual virus similar to mononucleosis.

I remember getting very ill, very quickly after that.

So weak that the doctor had to come to my house to see me – yes, remember the good old days?? – house calls!

That first week I was so *out of it.* I slept all the time, miserable with symptoms. I missed a total of FIVE weeks of school – which is quite a lot when you're only 10. And I couldn't do anything at recess or P.E. for another three months! It was quite a long time before I finally got my stamina back.

I've been sick and tired plenty of times since those days, but maybe never quite that sick or tired. And I will never forget the sense of helplessness I had, laying in that bed, my mind in a fog, so tired that I couldn't even think…

It was scary, and discouraging, and HARD.

But there is a different kind of weary that can invade the human soul.

Bone weary tired.

The *tired* that is more than a weary body – a *tired* that permeates an exhausted mind and a debilitated spirit. When one feels emotionally spent, and spiritually defeated – when one is tempted to Just. Plain. Give. Up.

Ever been there?

I sure have.

Been there a few times lately, too. Wondering and waitingtossed by life circumstances. Exhausted by my own strivings to figure things outdefeated by my inability to stand strong.

I need a house call…

Why do I insist on doing this to myself? Why must I beat myself into defeated submission? Why do I have to come to this point of exhaustion before I turn to God?

I think the Lord asks me why, too –

But I am learning something in this tired state (slowly, but I'm learning…) – I am learning that some of God's greatest lessons are learned in weariness.

"He uncovers mysteries hidden in darkness; he brings light to the deepest gloom." (Job 12:22)

Yes, there are secret things that God can only teach me when I'm weary – I'm convinced of this truth. Because in my exhaustion, I hear Him in a different way He's close, He's gentle, He's comforting. And He teaches me how to be humble, how I must rely and depend on ONLY Him.

God gives me the gift of running out of my own steam.

It's no wonder that Jesus invited us to come to Him – to take on His yoke. He knew the stubborn way we oxen strive to work on our own – until we completely tire ourselves out.

But, He promises restglorious rest – to those who lay their burdens down, and let Him carry the load. Just turn to Him…

"Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls." (Jeremiah 6:16)

Bone weary tired – yes, but learning how to rest…

How do you tire yourself out? What do you need to do to find God's rest, and to lean on Him for strength?

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Sunday, August 14, 2011

BIBLE PICK 'EMS - Home Sweet Home

I'm a foreigner.

You are too.

I suppose all of us in this country, unless we're Native Americans, are really just *imports*. Our ancestors came from another country. I'm one generation removed from my Scottish roots (Aye, I'm just a wee lassie…call me McSharon). But, this isn't quite what I have in mind.

I'm talking about being foreigners on earth.

Because, you see, as believers we don't quite belong here.

Our home is somewhere else.

The Bible tells us that God has planted eternity in the human heart and don't we just sense the truth of that? Doesn't your heart have a longing that you can't quite describe – and you can't quite fulfill – with anything or anyone or anywhere on this humble planet?

Don't you yearn for Heaven?

The blessed assurance is that we hope for a future that is promised it's just waiting for us. Jesus told us that He went to prepare a place for us – and I believe it's the Truth!

And until that day, there will always be a part of us that doesn't belong here. There will always be a part of us that feels out-of-place. There will always be a part of us that lives like a sojourner in a foreign land…

But…(the glorious BUT!)…we have a future and a hope. We have a home just waiting for our return.

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" reminded me of this:

"'I will bring them back from Egypt and gather them from Assyria. I will resettle them…until there is no more room for them all. They will pass safely through the sea of distress, for the waves of the sea will be held back, and the waters of the Nile will dry up. The pride of Assyria will be crushed, and the rule of Egypt will end. By my power I will make my people strong, and by my authority they will go wherever they wish. I, the LORD, have spoken!'" (Zechariah 10:10-12)

A little background.

Zechariah's ministry began just two months after Haggai’s in 520 B.C. His message was intended for the people living in and around Jerusalem after their return from exile. For many years, the Israelites had lived in captivity, and now they were back in their homeland.

Zechariah was urging them to repentance, spiritual renewal, and a return to a right relationship with God. He desired to strengthen and comfort the small remnant of God's people.

Though these verses originally spoke to another audience, I believe that we can apply them to our current situation. This pictured return from Egypt and Assyria can be a symbolic way of expressing the hope of our future return to our heavenly homeland, and to our eternity living in the presence of God.

We believers will be gathered and returned from many countries around the world. We will be emancipated from slavery to sin, freed from captivity – we will return to Heaven triumphant!

Here's what I think God is saying to us:

"I will bring you back from Earth and gather you from all the countries of the world. I will resettle you in heavenly mansions…until there is no more room for you all! You will pass safely through the sea of death, for the wages of sin will be held back, and the power of the enemy will dry up. The pride of Satan will be crushed, and the rule of his authority will end. By my power I will make my people strong, and by my authority they will go wherever they wish. I, the LORD, have spoken!"


I like the sound of that, don't you?!

So, in many ways, this old world just isn’t "home" is it? I was reminded of this song:

This world is not my home, I'm just passing through,
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue,
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door,
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.

Oh Lord, you know I have no friend like you,
If heaven's not my home, then Lord what will I do,
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door,
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.

So, fellow sojourners, live like you don't belong here. Yearn for eternity. Walk the earth, but keep your eyes on Heaven. Remember with confidence the hope we have for the future.

One day we will return to our homeland – and we will be led in triumph by the LORD God Himself!

What is the one thing you're most looking forward to in Heaven?

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Welcome to "Quaint Words!”

These posts will contain thoughts, poems, and prayers from old books that I have found at antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales (with an occasional treasure from a bookstore).

I love the rhythm and sound of the older English language, and am blessed by other believers who have gone before me!

(A listing of books and authors, and also dates of individual postings from those books, will be found on my "QUAINT WORDS" page)

"My dearest Lord, humbly I thank Thee for accepting my poor heart as Thy resting-place. How good of Thee, my dearest Saviour, to come to me who think so seldom of Thee, who pass so little time with Thee...

Now that Thou are with me, dearest Lord, I beg Thee to give light to my soul, that I may see the path on which Thou wishest I should travel to eternity. Touch my eyes, that I may see the good there is for me to do, the weaknesses that should be strengthened, and the empty places that should be filled with kindness and thoughtfulness to others...

Give me the grace, my beloved Lord, to make of my life something worth while, to distinguish the true from false, gold from tinsel, Thy beautiful standards from the deceitful maxims of the world.

Give me grace to recognize Thy touch when Thou knockest at my heart's poor gate, that I may always open wide the door and welcome Thee..."

(From "Spiritual Pastels" by J.S.E., c. 1918)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, August 12, 2011


Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a phrase, a sentence or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: wait

What does it mean to "wait upon the Lord"?

WHY do we, why should we wait on Him?

HOW can we wait on Him?

Let me know what you think!!

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


OK, wanna know a pet peeve of mine?

Those dumb TV jingles that just get stuck in your head.

They play over and over like a needle stuck in the groove of a record (any youngsters out there, just ask your parents, or grandparents what a record is…oh dear I'm getting older…)

Know what I mean?

Their annoying little tunes just rattle around and refuse to be quiet. And I'll tell you what – they DO NOT make me want to buy the product. In fact, even if I might consider buying it, I will not just because of the stupid jingle. I'm a stubborn old coot –

So, over the last few months, I've noticed something unusual happening in my head…

I'm waking up with random Christian songs in my head. And throughout the day, they keep playing over and over. At first, I found this a little upsetting – and yes, a little annoying. It's that *jingle thing* I thought. (Plus, it really bugs me that though these tunes won't go away, for the life of me I can "oh so easily" forget where I put my glasses or my keys! GRRR…)

But then, the Holy Spirit gave me this tremendous insight.

"Sharon, these songs and lyrics are not *randomly* appearing in your head. Don't you know that I have hand-picked them for you? I am working in your subconscious so you can wake up every day with a literal song in your heart!"


And then, He said this:

"And another thing, Sharon. When those songs go rattling around in your head during the day, it makes it harder for the enemy to enter your thoughts, doesn't it?"

Yeah, He's got a point there.

"It's My way of placing a hedge of protection around you. Is that OK?"

Oh boy – you bet it is!

So, I've been keeping track of what the Holy Spirit has been giving me this past week. And it's not the songs themselves that are reaching and protecting me – it's the truth behind the lyrics…

And it's all because of Jesus that I'm alive…

"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb…You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book." (Psalms 139:13, 16)

He's the Alpha, Omega, Beginning and End – He's my Savior, Messiah, Redeemer, and friend…

"Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me…I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End…I am the bright morning star." (Revelation 22:12, 16)

Trust and obey, for there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey…

"…we will obey the LORD our God…For if we obey him, everything will turn out well for us." (Jeremiah 42:6)

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus…

"You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!" (Isaiah 26:3)

Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Thou has bought us, Thine we are…

"Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption." (Ephesians 4:30)

All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give – All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all…

"…I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice…" (Romans 12:1)

I am a child of God – oh, that's who I am…

"But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God." (John 1:12)

I'm falling on my knees, offering all of me – Jesus You're all this heart is living for…

"I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than burnt offerings." (Hosea 6:6)

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe…

"For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, we'll sing and shout the victory…

"Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return. They will enter…singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness." (Isaiah 35:10)

These were ten of the songs that mysteriously (and miraculously?!) made their way into my heart.

And in every good sense, I have felt fenced in all week!

What songs minister deeply to your heart?

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, August 8, 2011


I have a thing about butterflies.

A little background on that…

Last year, I took a course on speaking with two other women. No, not literally speaking (evidently I do that just fine according to my family and friends!) – but speaking about the Lord. It was intensive training to prepare us to be speakers at luncheons and retreats, etc.

You have NO idea how terrifying this was for me.

Though I am not particularly afraid to get up in front of a group of people and talk, I am completely daunted about being *evaluated* (for me, that translates CRITICIZED). Well, it was quite a growing experience to say the least! At the end, we three women wanted to give our teacher a gift. I found a beautiful glass cross, and on the front were butterflies (you know, that *fake stained glass* that they use on window sun-catchers…)

I thought it was a good analogy.

Our teacher had helped each of us emerge from our cocoons of intimidation, self-doubt, nervousness, defeat – and become beautiful butterflies eager to fly into the destiny God has purposed for us.

So, though the whole re-birth connotation with the butterfly might be a little time-worn, for me it's a powerful symbol.

God used it earlier this year.

After my first solo speaking engagement, I was feeling a little bit (a lot) overcome with those same self-doubt feelings, those same moments of defeat – I was hearing that same voice saying, "What are you thinking? You can't do this!"

And then, I got home and opened the thank-you gift from the group I had just spoken to. It was a candle, and a lovely embroidered hand towel. I looked at the pretty leaves on it and thought, "Oh, how nice." Then I turned the towel over…

Yes, there just as big as life, was a giant butterfly.

I cried.

God said to my self-doubt, "Don't go back to the cocoon. You are MY butterfly!"

So yes, you can see that butterflies are kinda special to me.

Flash back to a few weeks ago – I went camping with "The Hub" – out of touch with everyone and every piece of technology I own.

I had big prayers and big expectations as I ventured up there.

I went up there with some unanswered health issues hovering on the horizon. I arrived with a duffel bag full of fear and dismay. I really, really needed to hear from God.

I asked Him for something tangible – something that was unmistakably HIM.

"Lord, please just SHOW UP. You don't know how I wish You still walked this earth so I could just SEE You – just once. Oh, how I need You right now…"

So, "The Hub" and I set up camp – we put up the tent, got our bedding all situated, and popped up a canopy for some shade. About an hour after arriving and moving in, I ducked under the canopy to get a bottle of water out of the cooler.

I heard a noise – a fluttering…

I looked up – and there, underneath the canopy, was the BIGGEST Monarch butterfly! I stared at it in amazement…I cried.

It might as well have been a burning bush.

God took the time to make a special appearance just for me!

That's totally what it felt like.

I showed my husband, who said he'd never seen a butterfly up close like that – and we set it free. But, do you know that every single day we camped (almost a week), at least once I saw a butterfly flutter through our campsite.

I promise you – I think I heard it say, "I AM HERE."

Have you ever had a moment when God made a special appearance for you?

(Today I'm linking up with Wendy at Faith's Firm Foundation for "Mondays are G.R.E.A.T.")

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Sunday, August 7, 2011

BIBLE PICK 'EMS - One Nation...Under God?

One nation.

Under God.

I am thrilled by that phrase. But a question arises in my mind, "Are we really?"

It's a sobering thought, isn't it?

I am deeply concerned about our great nation. And I am NOT speaking about politics here. Because no matter what your political affiliations are, as a Christian, you've got to be dismayed about the spiritual health of America.

I look beyond the political climate. Look at our culture, our morals, our values, our priorities. We are skewed and twisted – falling woefully short of God’s standards. Under God? Obedience might as well be a four-letter word…

It makes me sad, it makes me mad – and it makes me more than a little scared.

What's this country coming to?

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" was an extremely timely passage, I thought. It's from the book of Malachi:

"'I am not pleased with you,' says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, 'and I will not accept your offerings. But my name is honored by people of other nations from morning till night. All around the world they offer…pure offerings in honor of my name. For my name is great among the nations,' says the LORD…'But you dishonor my name with your actions…'" (Malachi 1:10-12)


Let's start with a little background on Malachi.

He was the last Old Testament prophet, and he preached about 430 B.C. The Israelites had returned to their homeland from exile, and the Temple had been rebuilt for almost a century. However, the people were losing their enthusiasm for worship. There was apathy and disillusionment because the Messiah had not arrived. Many of the sins that had led to the downfall of Jerusalem in 568 B.C. were still being practiced in Judah.

Malachi courageously confronted the hypocrites with their sins. He portrayed a graphic dialogue between a holy God and His hard-hearted people.

Though today's verses were originally directed at the priests, I think there's a universal message in there that can be applied to our country, too.

Are we callous about sin?

Are we apathetic about injustice?

Are we obsessed with our own pursuits?

Are we worshiping the idols of fame, fortune, and power?

Are we self-centered and proud?

Are we hypocrites?

Malachi dedicated himself to proclaiming God's message to his countrymen. He tried to give them a spiritual *wake-up call.* They didn't respond.

And then God was *silent* for more than 400 years. The heavens seemed closed to the nation of Israel. They heard nothing from God…

…until He sent His Son.

Sometimes I wonder – is God issuing us a warning? Are we on the brink of punishment? Are we testing His patience, and taking His favor for granted? Are we abusing His mercy?

God deserves our very best – our honor, respect, and faithfulness.

Where is our country on that one??

Where are we, as individuals, as believers?

Take today to evaluate the depth of your commitment to Christ. Test the sincerity of your worship. Ponder the direction of your life.

Are you a person who lives – under God?

I pray for a revival for our nation, a turning back to the God who has blessed us. I pray for the tide of pride and sin and corruption to be reversed. I pray for our leaders and our people. I pray…

But, I'm starting with me.

Lord, help me to honor You and Your name. Enable me to offer You pure offerings that are sweet and pleasing to You. Give me courage to proclaim You to others. And may I never dishonor Your name by my actions. Lord, help me to remain devoted to You – first and foremost, above all else…

Lord, let me live – UNDER. GOD.

What are your thoughts on the state of the union? How about the state of your own heart?

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Welcome to "Quaint Words!"

These posts will contain thoughts, poems, and prayers from old books that I have found at antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales (with an occasional treasure from a bookstore).

I love the rhythm and sound of the older English language, and am blessed by other believers who have gone before me!

"'For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.' (Psalm 33:21)

The root of faith produces the flower of heart-joy. We may not at first rejoice, but it comes in due time. We trust the Lord when we are sad, and in due season He so answers our confidence that our faith turns to fruition and we rejoice in the Lord.

Doubt breeds distress, but trust means joy in the long run...

If we do not rejoice at this moment, yet we shall do so, as surely as David's God is our God. Let us meditate upon the Lord's holy name, that we may trust Him the better and rejoice the more readily...

Can we not cheerfully rely upon Him? Yes, we will do so at once, and do so without reserve.

Jehovah-Jireh will provide, Jehovah-Shalom will send peace, Jehovah-Tsidkenu will justify, Jehovah-Shammah will be forever near, and in Jehovah-Nissi we will conquer every foe.

They that know thy name will trust thee; and they that trust thee will rejoice in thee, O Lord."

(From "Daily Reading by C. H. Spurgeon" by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, c. 1834-1892)


(A listing of books and authors, and also dates of individual postings from those books, will be found on my "QUAINT WORDS" page)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, August 5, 2011


Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a phrase, a sentence or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: freedom

What does the word freedom mean to you?

What does freedom in Christ mean to you?

How is God's freedom different than the world's?

Let me know what you think!!

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

But far inside, a flicker of flame
A wish, a hope we can scarcely name,
Glows like an ember of deep desire
Just waiting to be swept into a blazing fire.

With separate twigs to start the fire
You light the spark of our desire,
And fan a flame we cannot start
And plant Your Spirit within our hearts.

Lead us, guide us, show us Your way
Give us inspiration on each new day,
Expand our horizons, help us to proclaim
The wondrous glory of Your precious name!

© Sharon Kirby, July 30, 2010

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"