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More Than the Trappings

downloadThe Ark of the Covenant represented the presence of God to both the Israelite people and their enemies. In I Samuel chapters 4 and 5, we read of a time when the Philistines captured the Ark, probably figuring having it would give them special powers to defeat their foes. After all, they had heard how the God of Israel had wrecked Egypt and many other nations. What the Philistines did not know was that it takes more than possession of the Ark to experience the protective presence of the God of the Ark. The presence of the Ark in that unholy place brought on God’s wrath and troubles to the Philistines.

We may own Bibles, wear cross jewelry, fly Easter and Christmas manners on our homes, and have our names on the church role, but all of that exhibits merely the trappings of Christianity. Without a relationship with God, one that makes a difference in our lives, sooner of later the trappings will trap us and show us up to be fakes. Troubles, not images-1blessings, will come our way if we insist upon trying to represent God through unholy vessels. The trappings don’t make us related to Him.

 

________________________________________

©2019 Dr. Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

Links you won’t want to miss: 

  • Watch Sharon in two shows on The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network: 
    • Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott, and
    • A View from the Upper Room

from any internet-connected device at www.HSBN.tv  and on HSBN’s You Tube channel.

(Stream current show or view past episodes anytime!)

img-life-that-matters

  • 619hstwgsl-_sx331_bo1204203200_
  • 366 Glimpses of God: Getting to Know the God Who Knows You.
  • Start every day of your new year with one of these thoughtful devotional readings that will focus your attention on our amazing heavenly Father.

http://www.hsbn.tv/_store.html#!/366-Glimpses-of-God-Getting-to-Know-the-God-Who-Knows-You/p/77442498/category=15564996

  • Pick up copies of Sharon’s books for yourself and as gifts for your family members and friends!

Trouble copy 2

Boomerangs FrontCover

Boomerangs Videolink: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Unknown-4

Sharon’s other books still available:

Unknown   Unknown-1   Unknown-3Unknown-2   Unknown-5

1/18/20: Blinders and Muzzles

Here in America, we don’t often hear stories about demon possession or oppression unless we’re watching a Hollywood production. We have relegated demons to the silver screen. Actually, we somewhat enjoy being spooked for an hour and a half as the actors think it’s a good idea to spend the night in a deserted house in the middle of a forest on a moonless night. We allow the shadowy images to invade our psyches and are relieved when at least one hero or heroine emerges unscathed in the end. We exit the theaters leaving both our popcorn boxes and our fear of demons behind.

The demons might not care so much about the popcorn box, but they are certainly glad we left our attention to them behind. The principalities and powers of darkness want nothing more than for us to think they are no danger, and better yet, that they don’t really exist. They know that we neither fear nor respect that which we deem nonexistent; we are not on our guard against it either.

Jesus did not wonder about the existence of the demonic and neither did the people of his day. When demon-possessed people were brought to Him, Jesus didn’t say, “Oh my friend, you are misguided in your diagnosis. This man is merely troubled.” No, Jesus cast the demons out. In order to cast demons out, He had to recognize they were real.

Christians cannot be possessed by demons because the Holy Spirit has taken up residence within us. However, demons do their best to oppress believers. They will counterfeit within us some of the same troubles they bring upon the possessed. I believe two of their main weapons are blinders and muzzles.

Matthew 12:22 reads, Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw” (NKJ). Just as this man was blind and mute because of demon-possession, some of us Christians don’t see what we should see or say what we should say because we’re allowing the forces from hell to cover our eyes and shut our mouths. We refuse to recognize sin as sin and speak out about it.

It is our job to bring light, to be light, and to sound forth as the voice of deliverance in our world. Stop letting demons oppress you. Remove the blinders and muzzles. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden” Matthew 5:14 (NKJ).

Receive your sight. Receive your voice.

In Matthew chapter 8, we read two accounts that show a stark contrast in how Jesus can be approached. Right after witnessing Jesus heal a leper, the centurion’s servant, Peter’s mother-in-law, and many other demon-possessed and sick people, the disciples boarded a boat with Him and found themselves in a severe, unexpected storm. Even Peter, Andrew, James, and John – the skilled fishermen of the group – couldn’t control the boat and they judged that the waves were about to kill them. Meanwhile, Jesus was down in the boat taking a nap. They all woke Him up, frantically pleading, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” (Matthew 8:25 KJV)

Jesus’ response and corresponding actions took them totally by surprise. “‘Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?’ Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, ‘Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’ Matthew 8:26-27 (NKJ).

Immediately following this incident, they arrived to the other side of the sea and met two demon-possessed men who, upon seeing Jesus, suddenly cried out, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?… If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine” Matthew 8:29 and 31 (NKJ).

The disciples – those who walked with Jesus regularly and witnessed His power consistently – panicked in their crisis. Instead of approaching Him by virtue of the power they had seen Him display, they questioned what kind of man He was to be able to command even the wind and waves. By contrast, the demons immediately recognized who He was and responded, knowing what He was capable of doing and what He would tolerate.

Colossians 1:16-17 says, “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (NIV)

What will it take for us to recognize Jesus’ power? Do we know Him for who He really is? Do we trust Him for all He can do? We should be ashamed of ourselves for letting the demons exhibit more faith in Jesus than we do.

______________________________

(C) 2020 Sharon Norris Elliott

January 2, 2020 – About Mistakes

We may not like to admit it, but we will make mistakes. Being wrong sometimes is part of the human condition. Being new creatures in Christ does not free us from making mistakes, but it should give us a new way to approach them when they are made.

The first man in Scripture to make a mistake was Cain, and it happened before he murdered his brother. (Adam and Eve’s misstep was blatant, intentional disobedience; that’s different from a mistake.) Cain and Abel decided to give God offerings. Since Cain was a farmer, his offering was of the fruit of the ground. Abel was a shepherd, so he brought “of the firstborn of his flock.” When God saw the two offerings, we’re told, “…The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast” Genesis 4:4-5 (NIV).

Cain’s first response to his mistake was anger and dejection. I imagine he could have been feeling that he worked just as hard at farming as Abel did at shepherding, so his offering should have been accepted too. Perhaps he felt jealous at being outdone by his younger brother. Whatever he was thinking, God immediately gave him some instruction concerning how to handle his mistake. “Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it’” Genesis 4:6-7 (NIV).

Notice several things about God’s response. First, there is no indication that God is angry at Cain. Mistakes are unintentional, yet they are still mistakes and need to be corrected so they won’t be repeated. Second, God points out that only doing right equals acceptance. There are no brownie points for good intentions. Third, allowing a mistake to stand uncorrected leaves an open door for sin to invade our lives and take us down. The mistake is not the problem; our response to correction could be. If we respond by correcting the mistake – doing right – we master the sin that is lurking (crouching) in the shadows ready to devour us. That sin will not win. If we refuse correction, the sin that “desires to have” us will take over and our corresponding actions will bear that out.

Cain refused to correct his mistake. Before God could give him any further instruction about why his offering was not accepted, he allowed sin to fly through the open door flung so by his anger and he murdered Abel.

The next time we make a mistake, let’s refuse to make excuses, heed God’s correction, adjust our attitude, and make the necessary changes. In so doing, we will overpower the sin that desires to overtake us.

Life That Matters Ministries, LifeThatMatters.net (c)2020

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Remember to read through your Bible this year: OneYearBibleOnline.com

_________________________

Dr. Sharon Norris Elliott

Teacher, Preacher, Author, Editor, Writing Coach, Literary Agent

Be sure to subscribe to receive these devotions directly into your email whenever they are posted! Thanks!

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January 1, 2020 – Freely Eat

Lots of people begin a new year with a determination to lose weight. That’s a good idea, even a healthy one that many of us should probably adopt. However, I’d like us also think about a time when God said to “freely eat.”

In Genesis, chapter 2, we read:

  • The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil… And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” Genesis 2:8-9, 6-17 (NKJ).

God planted a garden in Eden and put every beautiful and beneficial tree imaginable in it for man’s enjoyment and nourishment. Two special trees were there as well: the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God said man could eat from every tree except the one that would hurt him. Just as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil supplied death and all negative moral and physical consequences, the tree of life supplied abundant life and all positive moral and physical consequences. There were many more good trees than bad trees in the garden. God gave His one prohibition and then said, “Freely eat.”

Adam and Eve could have enjoyed all the wonderful fruits and herbs for their physical bodies from the food sources, and eternal blessedness in relationship with God from the tree of life. Instead, they elected to combine the food for their physical bodies with the curse of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Bad choice.

Nothing has changed. Second Peter 1:3 says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (NIV). God has given us everything we need in our situation. We can choose to freely eat of His blessedness in a relationship of obedience to God, or “eat” what we think is best and suffer the consequences of discipline by Him.

First Timothy 6:17 tells us that “…the living God… gives us richly all things to enjoy” (NKJ). There’s still only one prohibition, avoid sin. Choose life and freely eat.

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For those of you taking up the challenge to read through your Bible this year, in case you haven’t obtained your one-year Bible yet, here are the first 5 days’ readings:

  1. January 1 – Genesis 1:1 – 2:25, Psalm 1:1-6, Proverbs 1:1-7, Matthew 1:1-25
  2. January 2 – Genesis 3:1 – 4:26, Psalm 2:1-6, Proverbs 1:8-9, Matthew 2:1-23
  3. January 3 – Genesis 5:1 – 6:22, Psalm 2:7-12, Proverbs 1:10-19, Matthew 3:1-17
  4. January 4 – Genesis 7:1 – 8:22, Psalm 3:1-4, Proverbs 1:20-22, Matthew 4:1-25
  5. January 5 – Genesis 9:1 – 1:32, Psalm 3:3-8, Proverbs 1:23-27, Matthew 5:1-26

Now get to a bookstore and purchase your one-year Bible, or use OneYearBibleOnline.com

__________________________

LifeThatMatters.net (C) 2020

 

Lancer Ladies’ Brunch!

 


Mothers ⎢ Sisters⎢ Daughters⎢ Friends

This Year’s Speaker!

Dr. Sharon Norris Elliott

Saturday, December 7, 2019  | 8:30 AM
The Anaheim Hills Golf Course Clubhouse

Registration is closing soon! Get your tickets today before registration closes on December 2nd.

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Chosen

download-2.jpgI believe everyone likes to be chosen. Remember back in elementary school when it came time to choose up sides for the P.E. time sports teams? It was an honor to be chosen first. That meant our classmates esteemed us as an asset and we were popular. (And popularity meant a lot in elementary school!) In high school, we wanted to be chosen to compete on the sports team, or sit on the homecoming court, or represent the school as a cheerleader or student body officer. Some of us even competed on the academic level, to be recognized as a high achiever so we could be chosen to receive scholarships and be chosen as one of the few accepted at our dream university. Each time we were chosen, the choice carried with it the responsibility to perform in some way, but we didn’t mind. Being chosen was an honor, and carrying out whatever we had to do was no problem at all.

Being chosen as part of a team or group, or even being pointed out as an achiever, does not eclipse the feeling of being chosen as someone special – and then being treated as someone special – by an individual. My husband could be married to any woman in the world, but he chose me. My friends could spend their time with anybody on the planet, but they choose to hang out with me. I once heard someone say, “People don’t have to be nice, and they certainly don’t have to be nice to you.” Carrying out our part in the relationship is a joy when we reflect on the blessing of being chosen into it.

There’s something within us that causes us to long to be chosen. But even if we’re chosen into high school teams, college clubs, and adult relationships, there will be an emptiness none of those associations can fill until we realize and accept that we have been chosen download-1.jpgby God for a purpose. John 15:16 says, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you” (NKJ).

It shouldn’t be hard for us to obey God when we reflect on what a blessing it is to have been chosen by Him. Let’s serve Him today with the grateful hearts of the chosen.

_______________________________________

©2019 Dr. Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

Links you won’t want to miss: 

  • Watch Sharon in two shows on The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network: 
    • Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott, and
    • A View from the Upper Room

from any internet-connected device at www.HSBN.tv  and on HSBN’s You Tube channel.

(Stream current show or view past episodes anytime!)

img-life-that-matters

  • 619hstwgsl-_sx331_bo1204203200_
  • 366 Glimpses of God: Getting to Know the God Who Knows You.
  • Start every day of your new year with one of these thoughtful devotional readings that will focus your attention on our amazing heavenly Father.

http://www.hsbn.tv/_store.html#!/366-Glimpses-of-God-Getting-to-Know-the-God-Who-Knows-You/p/77442498/category=15564996

  • Pick up copies of Sharon’s books for yourself and as gifts for your family members and friends!

Trouble copy 2

Boomerangs FrontCover

Boomerangs Videolink: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Unknown-4

Sharon’s other books still available:

Unknown   Unknown-1   Unknown-3Unknown-2   Unknown-5

AuthorizeMe Oakland – August 30-31, 2019

Don’t let time nor space run out!

               And stop disobeying God’s call on your life                   to write that book!

Register TODAY

for the upcoming AuthorizeMe Seminar being held in Oakland, CA on August 30-31

Click here to register and send your payment $50 down payment.

($50 + $2.00 Paypal service charge = $52.00)

Click here to complete registration and send your $149 final payment

($149 + $5.00 Paypal service fee = $154.00)

Click here to register and send your full tuition payment of $199

($199 + $6.00 Paypal fee = $205.00)

AuthorizeMe®

Dream: You want to write a book.

Dilemma: You don’t know how to get started.

Discovery: AuthorizeMe is your answer!

 

Taught by Sharon Norris Elliott, published author, 34-year veteran educator, professional editor, sought-after conference speaker, Bible study leader

 

Attend an AuthorizeMe® seminar and you will learn how to write your book. You will leave the seminar with the following:

  • your book completely planned
  • a query letter
  • a complete table of contents
  • a full chapter synopsis
  • a full proposal minus only two things – your complete market analysis (which you will learn how to do) and your sample chapters.
  • Ideas on how to find markets for your book

August 30-31, 2019

Shiloh Church

3295 School Street

Oakland, CA 94602
Friday evening: 5pm – 9pm, All day Saturday: 9am – 6pm
Tuition: $199.00

Register at http://www.LifeThatMatter.net – hit the AuthorizeMe tab

For more information and to sign up, contact: Sharon Norris Elliott, CEO at AuthorizeMeNow@gmail.com      www.LifeThatMatters.net     310-508-9860

(For adult, teen, and children’s books – Christian, positive value, and positive message books only)

What are people saying about AuthorizeMe®?

In short, the storyboarding technique used in this seminar provided clarity and gave birth to the vision of writing I had been struggling with for so many years. Without this seminar, writing would still be a dream.                  –Wendy Collier, Pine Hill, NJ

I was preparing to attend my first writers conference (2006 Sandy Cove) and didn’t have anything to “pitch” to the editors I was to meet with. At the last minute I signed up for Sharon’s Authorize Me course, and ended up taking a nearly-finished book proposal. I had much more credibility and was taken much more seriously than I would have been without AuthorizeMe. I absolutely encourage writers to take the course, (especially) prior to attending their first writing seminar. It gives new insight into what to expect. –Deborah James Lemach, Baltimore, MD

7-22-19 Do a Search

We live in the information age. Thanks to the Internet and devices like our desktop and laptop computers, smartphones, and tablets, we can access a wealth of information just by typing in a few words. Whenever we want to know something—anything—all that’s needed is for us to “do a search.”

Things were not quite that easy back in Old Testament times, but records were kept, and information could be sought out. One such incident happened in the book of Ezra when the builders of the temple were challenged. Tattenai, the governor of the region containing Jerusalem, noticed that the Jews were rebuilding the temple and asked them who had given them permission to do so. When the builders told him they had permission from the powers that be, he wanted to check out their story, so he sent a letter to King Darius asking about the matter.

Ezra 6:1-2 tells us, “Then King Darius issued a decree, and a search was made in the archives, where the treasures were stored in Babylon. And at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of Media, a scroll was found, and in it a record was written” (NKJ). Sure enough, the former ruler, King Cyrus, had issued the decree that the house of God be built at Jerusalem. King Darius didn’t just stop at telling Tattenai that fact; he added his own decree and a request:

  • Let the cost be paid at the king’s expense from taxes on the region beyond the River; this is to be given immediately to these men, so that they     are not hindered. And whatever they need—young bulls, rams, and lambs for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the request of the priests who are in Jerusalem—let it be given them day by day without fail, that they may offer sacrifices of sweet aroma to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and his sons. Ezra 6:8-10

This story teaches us some lessons about working for God.

  1. Work candidly. Be involved openly in doing the work God has called us to do. Unless God has placed us in a ministry that involves undercover operations, we should not be ashamed of what God has called us to do. Anyone can see it and even challenge it if they’d like.
  2. Work consistently. We should not stop working for God just because we are challenged. When Tattenai confronted the workers, they answered him but kept right on working. “But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, so that they could not make them cease till a report could go to Darius” Ezra 5:5.
  3. Work confidently. When our work is firmly based upon the Word of the Lord, we can be confident in knowing God will back us up and supply abundantly for the work to be accomplished.

If we are involved in work we clearly know God has told us to do, we can expect to be challenged. We need to keep working, but hand the confronters a Bible and tell them simply, “Do a search.” All God-inspired work will be backed up somewhere in the pages of Holy Writ where the treasures of truth are stored. And we shouldn’t be surprised if those same challengers end up helping in the completion of the work. Worship God today for being the validation of our work.

____________________________

©2014, 2019 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

Upcoming AuthorizeMe Seminar – Time to Register

AuthorizeMe®

Dream: You want to write a book.

Dilemma: You don’t know how to get started.

Discovery: AuthorizeMe is your answer!

 

Taught by Sharon Norris Elliott, published author, 34-year veteran educator, professional editor, sought-after conference speaker, Bible study leader

 

Attend an AuthorizeMe® seminar and you will learn how to write your book. You will leave the seminar with the following:

  • your book completely planned
  • a query letter
  • a complete table of contents
  • a full chapter synopsis
  • a full proposal minus only two things – your complete market analysis (which you will learn how to do) and your sample chapters.
  • Ideas on how to find markets for your book

August 30-31, 2019

Shiloh Church

3295 School Street

Oakland, CA 94602
Friday evening: 5pm – 9pm, All day Saturday: 9am – 6pm
Tuition: $199.00

Register at http://www.LifeThatMatter.net – hit the AuthorizeMe tab

For more information and to sign up, contact: Sharon Norris Elliott, CEO at AuthorizeMeNow@gmail.com      www.LifeThatMatters.net     310-508-9860

(For adult, teen, and children’s books – Christian, positive value, and positive message books only)

What are people saying about AuthorizeMe®?

In short, the storyboarding technique used in this seminar provided clarity and gave birth to the vision of writing I had been struggling with for so many years. Without this seminar, writing would still be a dream.                  –Wendy Collier, Pine Hill, NJ

I was preparing to attend my first writers conference (2006 Sandy Cove) and didn’t have anything to “pitch” to the editors I was to meet with. At the last minute I signed up for Sharon’s Authorize Me course, and ended up taking a nearly-finished book proposal. I had much more credibility and was taken much more seriously than I would have been without AuthorizeMe. I absolutely encourage writers to take the course, (especially) prior to attending their first writing seminar. It gives new insight into what to expect. –Deborah James Lemach, Baltimore, MD