12/24/18 The Exception

•December 24, 2018 • 1 Comment

At final grading time, my students who have not studied as they should have, always want me to make exceptions for them. If the work packet had to be completed by a certain date, they want me to make an exception and allow them more time to finish it. If the extra credit notebook needed all the assignments to be three-hole punched and attached to the rings of the binder, they want me to make an exception for theirs which has papers stuffed in the binder’s pockets. Some students even ask me to make an exception for their lack of study by allowing them to retake the final exam.

Needless to say, as gently as possible, I tell my students “no” to each one of these requests. Deadlines are deadlines, due dates are due dates, and requirements are requirements; meet them or suffer the consequences, which in their case is a low grade in the course. The exception that does happen is one my unfortunate slackers could have been a part of all along. When poor grades are being handed out, the students who have read the material, turned in homework on time, and followed the dictates of each assignment become the exception. The diligent students have nothing to fear. Their hard work and deportment throughout the semester pays off with high grades of which they can be proud.

God’s economy operates in the same way. The Old Testament book of Zephaniah and the New Testament book of The Revelation are replete with warnings of God’s coming wrath upon those who refused to worship Him in favor of worshipping the idol gods of the earth. Devastating phrases announcing that people will be “cut off,” and will send up “mournful cries” should be enough to get people straight. God goes on to say He will “punish the men… who say in their heart, ‘The Lord will not do good, nor will He do evil’.” God says, “I will bring distress” and “I will destroy you” (Zephaniah 1-3 NKJ). Then Revelation tells us that when God’s judgement comes, so many will be judged that their “blood [will be] up to the horses’ bridles” (Revelation 14:20).

However, the good news is that we can be the exception to being on the receiving end of all this horror. Both Zephaniah and Revelation mention that God has a mighty soft side for those who love and worship Him. “The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness” (Zephaniah 3:17a). And Revelation says, “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them’” (Revelation 14:12-13).

In my students’ case, thankfully, more students receive good grades than bad grades. However, the Bible tells us that “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14). We want to be counted as the exception – in the number of the “few who find” the way of life forever with God. We become the exception through Jesus.

My Christmas gift to you this year is a reminder of just why we celebrate this holiday. Jesus, that baby born in a manger, allows us to be the exception and miss the wrath of God. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life… that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (John 3:16 and Romans 10:9-10). Merry Christmas!

Advertisements

12/8/18: Just One Rule

•December 8, 2018 • Leave a Comment

I like to tease the high school students I teach by telling them, “There are only two rules in my class. Rule number one: Listen to me because I love you, I’m the teacher, and I’m right. Rule number two: In case I’m ever wrong, refer back to rule number one.” So, my two rules actually boil down to just one.

John, one of the Bible writers, communicated in much the same way to his readers. Second John 6 says, “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it (NKJ).” Do you see the similarity between John’s words to us and my rules for my students? John says: Love is walking according to His (God’s) commandments. So, what is the commandment? To walk in what you’ve heard from the beginning, which is to walk according to God’s commandments.

How many different ways do we have to be told to operate in the one rule that really counts, the rule of love?

  • John 15:11-12 quotes Jesus saying, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
  • Matthew 22:37-39 again reveals Jesus’ answer to someone’s question about the greatest commandment. Jesus told he guy, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
  • Then Paul summed things up in Romans 13:10 by writing, “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.”

So, as another one of my friends likes to say, this is Barney simple. Operate in love. (Drop the mic.)

___________________________________________

©2018 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 Dr. 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_Join the movement! Closer Walk 2018(c) https://closerwalk2018.wordpress.com
  • 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 Dr. 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

Dr. Sharon’s other books still available:

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

11/29/18 – In the Flesh

•November 30, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Imagine a situation in which someone surprisingly shows up. All the shocked friends ask, “Is that really you?” The unexpected yet welcomed guy answers, “In the flesh!”

We understand that declaration, “in the flesh,” to be able to wipe out any vestiges of disbelief. It’s really him or it’s really her! And when people are with us “in the flesh,” we act in accordance with what their presence dictates. When the pastor is “in the flesh” at the event, we watch our conversations. When the undisputed life-of-the-party shows up “in the flesh,” we automatically start smiling because we know something to laugh at is about to ensue. And when my students’ parents are in the room “in the flesh,” the kids are perfect little angels, totally engaged, and hanging onto every word of my lesson.

Recognizing the importance of the significant person being in the flesh is not an idea that is new to modern society. Unbelievers in the Old Testament pointed out that without this phenomenon, certain wisdom would be impossible to obtain. In Daniel chapter two, King Nebuchadnezzar had troubling dreams that disturbed his sleep. He called for “the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans” to interpret, and they said they would once the king told them the dreams (Daniel 2:2 NKJ). The king refused, saying that if they were real magicians, they could tell him both the dreams and the interpretation. If they couldn’t do both, they were fakes and they would be killed. The magicians and company answered, “It is a difficult thing that the king requests, and there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh” (Daniel 2:11).

You see, even the heathen men claiming to have powers understood that true power operates only through those indwelt by supernatural intervention. The good news is that God lives with us “in the flesh.” You see, the New Testament makes it clear that God’s dwelling is indeed “in the flesh” in the person of Jesus Christ. In fact, one of His names – Emmanuel – means just that: God with us (Matthew 1:23). But not only was God in the flesh with us while Jesus walked the Earth, but ever since the Resurrection and the Day of Pentecost, He now lives in our flesh thanks to the Holy Spirit. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (First Corinthians 3:16).

So, understand that the same Jesus who lived in the flesh, is the One who had His flesh crucified, and then resurrected in the flesh. His death happened for us, in order to pay for our sins. His resurrection also happened for us, in order to validate His identity as God. Now it’s time to use our flesh – our very lives – to live for Him.

__________________________________

©2018 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_Join the movement! Closer Walk 2018(c) https://closerwalk2018.wordpress.com
  • 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

11-6-18: What Has Gotten Into You?

•November 6, 2018 • 1 Comment

Today is election day in the United States. Our treasured democratic process allows us citizens to participate in the process of choosing our leaders. We like having the freedom to make choices, and thanks to our peaceful transition of power, the choices made by the majority go into effect whether or not thousands of people have disagreed with who the winners should be. There is so much dissension in our country, though, that we seem to be at a place where the world is looking in and saying, “What has gotten into you?”

This idea of having choices reminded me of my childhood. Sometimes, I made choices that weren’t approved of by my parents. Whenever I would do something wrong as a result of a stupid mistake as a kid, I remember my mother saying to me, “Sharon, what got into you?” In other words, Momma was saying that she really couldn’t believe it was her daughter acting this way or trying to pull off this stunt. I knew I had a punishment coming too because disobedience was a sign of acting out of character which simply was not tolerated.

Unfortunately for him, Lucifer didn’t have a mom like mine to pull him back into line. The prophet Isaiah details his stupid mistake:

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit” Isaiah 14:12-15 (NKJ).

Five times, Lucifer said, “I will.” What got into him to make him think he was really able to place his throne above God’s and be like God? I’ll tell you what got into Lucifer: sin. Ezekiel 28:15 plainly states of him, “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you” (NKJ).

Yes, it’s sad to say, but the same thing that got into Lucifer got into all of us. Lucifer had no where to go but down. That’s the fate we also deserve. Every time we’re disobedient, we are pointing our puny finger at God, telling Him to get off of the throne because we are now going to take that seat of control in our own lives. We want to be God. Once we get to this place, there’s no where to go but down. Ouch.

Mercifully, Jesus has done something about that rebellious streak in us. We now need to surrender to what the blood of Jesus has done: washed away all our sin, even our sin of demanding our right to ourselves. Let’s step down from our own throne and bow before God’s.

__________________________________

©2018 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_Join the movement! Closer Walk 2018(c) https://closerwalk2018.wordpress.com
  • 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

080618: All Things New

•August 6, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Second Corinthians 5:17, a very familiar verse to many Christians, says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” We normally see this as a verse discussing the point of our salvation or baptism. We read it to say, “When we come to Christ, we are made new.” But look again. This verse is not only speaking about some point in our past. It says, “If anyone is in Christ.” In other words, as we live in Christ, we are new, present tense. In the same manner in which mercies are new every morning, we too are new moment by moment, as we live in Christ.

Jesus, the God man, lives outside of time; we live in it. What He caused to happen in eternity past, we experience along the timeline of our life span. The original Creator of all things (see John 1:3), Jesus has neither lost that creative ability, nor has He stopped using it. So, when Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “all things have become new,” we must realize that this is speaking of the creative ability of Jesus, the One who originally created everything in the first place.

So when we can’t see our way out of an impossible situation; find our way out of a toxic relationship; or fight our way out of misplaced, entrenched beliefs; we can turn our “dark formless void” (see Genesis 1:2) over to the Creator/Re-creator. Knowing His power, ability, and willingness to help us, how incredibly ridiculous of us to believe even for a second that Jesus cannot still make all things new. As long at the outcome remains consistent with His character, it’s just plain silly to talk about any situation that God can’t completely transform.

________________________

©2018 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_Join the movement! Closer Walk 2018(c) https://closerwalk2018.wordpress.com
  • 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

7-16-18: A New Understanding of “To Grope”

•July 16, 2018 • Leave a Comment

For several weeks each summer, I have the happy experience of spending several weeks in New Orleans with my youngest son Mark, his beautiful wife Tabatha, and my adorable grandchildren Dallas and Jordyn. My love for Mark and Tabatha has not diminished in the least, but as Nana to those babies, I am laser focused on them and just can’t get enough. Since one of my main heart’s desires is that my grandchildren actual know me, not just know about me, while I’m with them, I spend as much time as possible hugging and cuddling. They love to hug and cuddle too, so we’re a perfect trio. We all just love to be close. We touch. We hold hands, cradle each other’s faces, squeeze each other around the neck, kiss each other’s cheeks, and pat each other on the back. In a real sense, we “grope” each other in all the appropriate Nana/grandbaby ways.

 

Imagine my surprise when I read Paul’s use of the word “grope” in the Bible. While at Athens, Paul encountered a bunch of so-called philosophers who “spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing” (Acts 17:21 NKJ). The town was filled with idols, even one with the inscription “To the Unknown God” (Acts 17:23). As Paul explained that “God, who made the world… and has made from one blood every nation of men” was this unknown God, he went on to say that God did it so that men “might grope for Him and find Him” (Acts 17:26-27). The Greek word “pselaphao” means “to handle, touch, feel; mentally to seek after tokens of a person or thing.”

 

It looks to me as if Paul is recommending that we do with God what I do with my grandchildren: grope. As we “handle” God through reading His word, “touch” God through prayer, and “feel” God in praise, worship, and meditation, we will come to know Him, not just know about Him. And isn’t that our heart’s desire?

 

________________________

©2018 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_Join the movement! Closer Walk 2018(c) https://closerwalk2018.wordpress.com
  • 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

 

6/28/18: Turn the Conversation

•June 28, 2018 • Leave a Comment

The CFO of Queen Candace’s kingdom in Ethiopia was returning home from worshipping in Jerusalem. He was sitting in his chariot reading the Scriptures when the Spirit of God sent Philip him. When Philip heard him reading a segment from Isaiah, Philip asked him, “Do you understand what you are reading?” The man said that he didn’t, he needed someone to help him, and he invited Philip to join him up in the chariot so they could sit together and read. The part of the Scripture the man was reading was this:

“He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
In His humiliation His justice was taken away,
And who will declare His generation?
For His life is taken from the earth” Acts 8:32-33 (NKJ).

Most of us could have done what Philip did after reading this. The Bible tells us, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him” Acts 8:35 (NKJ).

When I was a teenager, our youth group used to play Bible and Christian living games. One of the games we played was to practice how long it would take us to turn any conversation to a discussion about Jesus and salvation. The interaction between Philip and the Ethiopian man reminded me of this exercise.

This is a good habit to continue and I find myself still doing it pretty regularly. Almost any answer about my life involvement will lead to Jesus (writing Christian books, broadcasting on a Christian station, going to church, teaching at a Christian school, preaching, teaching at Christian conferences), and then I can segue into questions about their involvement with God. If they are talking first, I can always find something that reminds of some spiritual issue and then I can turn the conversation to Jesus.

I challenge you today to turn the conversation. Speak with someone in line at the grocery store or the bank. Strike up a conversation with the lady on the other end of the park bench as you both watch your toddlers play in the sandbox. Talk with the person at the next table during your lunch break. You never know. You could be the one to answer their ultimate question, “What must I do to be saved?”

________________________

©2018 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_Join the movement! Closer Walk 2018(c) https://closerwalk2018.wordpress.com
  • 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