Invited a friend to chat online at https://www.facebook.com/sejanashines/ and it went great! Here are a few of the timestamps and topics that we discussed. Everything is not typed out but you can get an understanding. We pray it is helpful for you in your journey with God. I’d love to hear from you if you have anything to share from this video!
1:50 Sherri talks about what it is like in Virginia these days (amid the #covid19 restrictions)
3:18 Sherri has an 17, 13, 8 year old while I (Sejana) have a 11 & 12 year old. Sherri describes what it’s like for her youngest that is taking this time the hardest. Schoolwork & the need to be obedient to the rules that has been put in place. We can do what we can while the rest is in God’s hand’s no matter our circumstances. We can have peace of mind in God as He is the one that will pull us through.
9:47 Topic of this video discussion is “being ready.” Here we are in this situation that no one expected. We know that Jesus will return one day and we need to be ready. Mark 13:32-37. It’s a shortened view of Matthew 24:36-51. God is calling us as we live this life that we have been given to also be ready for Jesus’ return because we know He said he would be back one day.
12:44 Sherri’s response to being ready and not knowing when that time will be. Her mom would say we want to be able to look back at our life and know that we have done what we were supposed to do. Our house was in order. Where I am today is not going to be where I am tomorrow, a week from now or next year. In any time that I was going through a ‘valley experience,’ was I ever ready? I was never ready to go through the difficulties. I didn’t think I was ready but God was ready and I needed to trust God.
16:00 A surprise pregnancy was an opportunity to trust God throughout this process. God put something in place in my life that he knew I wasn’t expecting. I had to trust in the process. God doesn’t make any mistakes. I had a choice to make, what was I going to do? Was I going to flake out and go against my morals and belief systems? I am going to trust in God, move forward and make the choice to do what God wants me to do and the feelings would follow later. How I felt about it was secondary. It ended up being one of the best things in my life. But was I ready? No. God got me ready through that process. God was requiring me to be obedient in situations that made me extremely uncomfortable. Just like now during this #COVID19 situation. It’s not easy. I have to remember that there are things we have control over and there are things that we don’t. We need to make wise decisions. At the end of the day we can know it’s in God’s hands. We learn through the valley and we have more faith and trust in God. We might not be specifically prepared for our current situation but God trains us up. God has got me this far. So God has my complete trust. I look back at all that he has already done. He’s already proven himself.
23:50 What would you say to those that are new in faith and feel like they are at the beginning of this journey, how can they be ready? Look at what God has done in the Bible for different people in their journey. You can see what God is capable of doing. Look at what God has done for Paul, Moses, Job … It requires us to go to God. Look at God’s word and see how God has been there for others. In real life we are required to do something. The ‘doing’ is to come/go to God. Use the tools that he has given us, one is the Bible. But, we have to first back up even further and determine that you want to have this relationship with God. If you are sitting on the couch engulfed in what the world has to offer and are not taking the time to find out what God has to offer then there is a problem. If you really want to know who God is, search him out. You have the Bible, the church, people… there are many opportunities to connect with Christ. Everything is online right now. It’s like a buffet, but what will you partake in? Whatever you want you can have it (it seems) but my hope is that we not miss this opportunity that we have been given. For most of us, this is a pause on the normal activities in our life. Maybe we are only thinking about how to get through just right now. But, use this time to think about more than just right now but our lives for all of eternity.
30:00 Why do we celebrate Easter? Why do we talk about being ready? We will talk about Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Resurrection Sunday…. but there are people who don’t know what’s the point of Jesus? Why does it matter that he died on the cross? It does matter, it matters greatly. I want people to know. We have a buffet of opportunities to go to God at this time. To be ready for his return. Let’s go back to the Lord.
32:00 Covid situation today has Sejana in Daegu, Korea on week 7 of social distancing and limited movement; VA week 3. There will be people who will bunker down. There are others whose feet have been firmly planted in the world. There are others who realize they don’t like themselves and may come to a point where they want a true change for their life.
33:30. I’m good. We each have a job to do. Now I’m thinking, ‘what about other people?’ I have loved ones that don’t care for the Lord. They are only looking at their life here and now. But is that all there is? Is there more to life that this? How can I share the truth with other people in the way that will help them to explore Jesus? To ask, ‘Who is Jesus anyway?’ Is Easter really just about finding eggs? Why do we keep talking about why Jesus died on the cross? It’s not all about you but what Jesus did affects you and your day to day life.
37:00 How we live our lives reflects Christ. People are critiquing every single thing that you do. When they see something they want that I have that’s when I get approached. You look like you enjoy being a mom, how is that? Your husband and you laugh a lot, like you are friends, was it always like that? Then I have a quick opportunity to share no, it wasn’t always like that. It was hard work, time and putting our trust in God. I’ve had people ask me are you bored? No, I’m not bored. I find plenty of things to do to occupy my mind. I enjoy being with me. When you have a ton of friends or 1 friend, how can you be good all by yourself? They don’t understand. God sent me who I needed at that particular time from our various military moves. Understanding where people are in their life and meeting them where they are has helped too. When I talk to people about Christ, it comes in later. I work through their issues first and really listen before dropping those nuggets about God.
41:43 Sherri, you connect with others and share with them what’s worked for you -the hope of Christ. You are solidly planted in the Lord and once they feel like you hear them maybe they are more willing to hear that solution. Yes but Sejana, your nitch is teaching and tutoring. You will challenge someone to look it up for themselves. God sends those people who need specifically what we have. I remember this mom I knew in WA State. She invited me over for dinner and we ate. She asked do you want to pray? Just her asking that simple question changed our conversation to spiritual talk. We were able to share some deeper things and it was good. She is a mom. She loves the Lord and she just trusts in Him. She just invited me in by asking to pray.
44:45 I went to school for counseling. In the textbook, the research says that the various counseling theories we learned may or may not work. Everyone is different. Their situation and perspectives are different. I hope I have something that will help them when they come to me with their problems. Maybe I’ll share my experiences and what I know about the Bible that might be helpful but ultimately I know the answer is within a relationship with Jesus. We all have something to offer and we use whatever we have been given to be ready. Matthew 24:36 says that NO ONE knows when the “end times” will come. Not even Jesus. It will come suddenly, so what will he find you doing when he returns? Has he entrusted you with children? Yes, okay so are you taking care of your child? Are you married? Yes, so okay are you doing what you can to nurture your marriage? When God comes will God find you faithful? When I check on my kids I want to see them doing what they are supposed to be doing. My kids are doing online school and I like to see them doing what they are supposed to be doing. So sometimes I do spot checks and I love to see them doing the right thing. I can trust them with more because they were doing the right things. This time I have been given is a gift but am I using it wisely?
52:27 The longer you stay in a position that challenges you, the more you are able to get out of it. You are just planted in the situation and you are being judged on how you handle the situation and spend your time. It might not be just reading the Bible but it can be other things like even cooking. Fulfill your role and do it lovingly. You don’t have to have a smile on your face all the time but do it in a way that your kids and husband can see that even in times that you don’t want to do it that you are doing it anyway. Live a Christ filled life. I’ve been in situations where sometimes I don’t make it to church. Sit down with your kids and have that intimate conversation with your husband. Do what you’ve been entrusted to do.
56:00 How do you manage the requests for prayer that you receive or that you from social media? I scroll on social media and get a feel for who needs prayer and then I call them to see if they have time to let me pray for them. Include the kids so that they can see the result of what our prayers can be. Sometimes I walk around the house and pray out loud. I’m a teacher not by pointing it out for them to read but by what I do. I learned this through the behavior that my mom and dad displayed when I was growing up.
1:00:49 The reason why I have my kids find and then read scripture references from the Bible often is because that’s my style. But, really, I do it because I want them to be able to know these truths for themselves. 1 Peter 3:1-4 With kids, I heard (and have found that) “More is caught than taught.” They are like sponges. They pick up on a lot. You don’t have to say anything. I don’t want to be the mom that is just saying a bunch of things about God. May we be people that we can show God in our actions. That doesn’t mean that we do everything right but we keep coming back to the Lord. We trust in God to mold and shape us, even our heart. I tell my 17 year old to look it up because she wants to do her own investigation, she doesn’t want to hear answers from me. My middle aged son listens but I want him as a young man to know truth for himself, not because my mom told me so. My mom used to spew out these sayings but when I got older, I realized they were actually Bible verses. That was their style of teaching.
1:04:49 How long have we been talking via Skype? We’ve probably been meeting weekly for 4-5 years each of us move throughout this time. That required intention. Scheduling. This time is reserved for our Bible study meetings has been pretty consistent over the years and there has been fruit from that. Likewise, when you make time with God there will also be fruit. We get to meet with the God of the universe. The more we spend time with the Lord, the more He can shape you. The more you work with play dough, the softer it gets. There is joy in knowing that you are in God’s hands that no matter what you are going through you KNOW you are not alone. You know you have the Lord. That is something that everyone wants. We want to know that our life meant something and that we have a true purpose. There is that hope which is found only in God. We know that my husband Daniel is not saved. It seemed hopeless sometimes in my prayers. Ultimately though, my prayer is, “God do whatever you need to do so that he can have a relationship with you before it is too late.” Our life is short when you look at eternity. So far it seems like nothing is happening with him, nothing as far as I’m concerned. Before this #covid19 “lockdown” has happened Daniel was talking about politics constantly. However, now he says what he has learned from this situation we are and have been in is that we do not know what will happen tomorrow. Wow. That is movement. God is working. We want people to see that God is moving all around us. Whose really in control here? What is God really doing?
1:12:00 We each have our own struggles. God is happy when I do certain things. From the 5 Aspects study that we did before Carole mentioned God is happy. He gets that you don’t want to do certain things but he takes joy in the fact that you are doing it regardless of how you feel about it. I see that growth in my kids that they can do the thing that they don’t want to do but they do it without complaining. So when I do the things I really don’t want to do, I say to myself I’m not doing it for them, I’m doing for God. This week it may be the dishes, next week it may be apologizing to someone for what I did. God knows and he sees what we have done.
1:15:00 How can God give you more when you can’t even handle the little he gave you? Luke 16:10-13 If I mismanage the money that we do have what will happen when we get more money? We create habits with the things that we do. Manage what you have; create good habits so that when you get more those habits will stick. When God entrusts us with things, we do the right thing. I’ve given you one kid, but you are not taking care of what I have given you so why would I give you more? I think sometimes we have too much. We fill our lives with stuff. We try to fill this hole in our lives, our heart and our spirit. We get a rush when we first get it but then it becomes overwhelming as we are consumed with what we are doing with all of this stuff. Sometimes stuff can take us away from the peace that God provides us with. All things come with responsibility. I like my freedom and it provides me with my peace of mind. When I am at peace I can connect with God. When I’m not at peace, my mind is on the thoughts of how to handle all these things. You have to physically do something, on your own. As people we have to put in the work. Hard work is rewarded. God needs to see that you are willing to move forward. You may have to force yourself to do something that you don’t want to do (because you know it needs to get done).
1:23:27 We are not here alone. Other people can share what they have figured out or are better at to help one another. For me, it might be sharing God through studying his Word. Maybe your thing is to use whatever God has given you opportunities to show him his glory and to love one another. You don’t have to do a lot of things these days. But when you take the time to do and take care of what He has given you it shows God’s glory and love to those you are serving. You may need to recruit help or ask for accountability to help you get on track. You may need to look around and see who is producing fruit; they have a sincere relationship with the Lord. You can ask them what do you do and how can you have this relationship with the Lord. Once we are Christ followers, we have the Holy Spirit that transforms us from the inside out. You change and want to do things that is pleasing to the Lord. God says just come to me and I’ll show you what you need to do. Just give me some time each day. You’re not going to achieve perfection here in your lifetime; it is a journey. Your job is just to abide with Christ. (John 15:4-5) To stay with him, to remain, to decide. I’m committed to you God. You said you would never leave me nor forsake me. In your mind you know God’s got me. You’re living it out in your life.
1:29:00 What last words would you say to someone that feels like they are drowning and don’t know what to do with all of this going on? I see you living it out today as I know you have other pressing issues going on and I’m not talking about COVID yet you are still sane, calm and encouraging to others. It was a process, it didn’t happen overnight. God and I went through little things that went to bigger things and bigger things. Whether you realize it or not you are committed to something. Your man that keeps dogging you out, your organizations, whatever. You think that this thing is serving you in some way so you stay committed. Give God the same opportunity. The same level of commitment. If you gave God the same level of commitment, you will get the results you want. Sometimes it won’t happen until you are sick and tired of being sick and tired. If it gets too overwhelming for you, then just shut off the outside world. There is too much chatter, too much stuff and too much information. Everything I need to know God lets me know. I just turn the whole world on mute. I let loved ones know that I’m on blackout mode and it’s been only my husband, my kids and God and that was when we got down to the nitty gritty (with God). Sometimes it’s not pretty, I’m pissed and I tell God. But God wants me to come to him. The confession is not for God, it’s for you. God can handle your words and how you feel. Just because it’s like this today doesn’t mean you’ll be like this tomorrow and next week. If you need to cry, then cry. Do it with the understanding that God is right there with you. Shut it down and give him a genuine opportunity to make some changes in your life. I learned that no matter what I go through he is blazing through things right with me together. If God doesn’t ever do anything else in my life, he’s done enough. He gives it to me as a gift and I recognize that. I don’t have to win him over. No it’s done. It was done on the cross.
You are not the only ones struggling. We are each on our own journey and yet God puts us in this together and He is with us. The victory is already done and it was won on the cross.
1:37:38 Closing prayers for this time. Like Iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17). Hebrews 10:23-25. https://my.bible.com/bible/59/HEB.10.23-25.ESV ‘Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. ‘ Hebrews 10:23-25 https://my.bible.com/bible/59/HEB.10.23-25
Looking for a Bible Study to watch and reflect on during this time? Try these: https://sejanashines.com/2020/03/07/bible-time-worship-every-episode-summary/