Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Don't Lose Your Sparkle in the Fog

For some reason I just woke up in the middle of the night. Actually, I woke up within an hour or so of falling asleep. It could have been several things, physical things, and at my age those things seem to be increasing in number. However, I don’t think it was a physical thing that woke me.

Although I did get up and take care of the physical things. I also became quite curious about the night and why I was awake. I even tried to go back to sleep, which didn’t work. But while I was up, I noticed that the atmosphere inside the house seemed off. The air conditioner was on, the blower was running, but it seemed…stuffy. Yet, the temperature hadn’t changed.

 Now, most people would say that was due to the humidity outside, which is generally correct. I set out to prove it to myself by unlocking the front door and stepping outside to feel the temperature and humidity for myself. That proved to be a learning experience all its own.

To say that I stepped into an Edgar Allen Poe atmosphere would be an understatement. It would have been easy for me to get lost as soon as I stepped onto my front porch, because when I opened the front door I literally stepped into the fog. This fog was real, it was thick, and it was tangible. It was also scary.



Being surrounded by fog is not only uncomfortable but it’s confusing, scary, and sometimes frightening. We can’t see when we’re in the fog. We can’t navigate. We can become lost. And sometimes the fog can be so thick that it causes us to crash. What do we do?



Don’t lose your sparkle in the fog.

Jesus says that we are the light of the world. We are to let our light shine. But how can we do that if we are surrounded by fog? Won’t we lose our sparkle? Absolutely not! Our light never goes out. Though the fog surrounds us, though it tries to extinguish us, it cannot because darkness cannot overtake the light. Therefore, we cannot be hidden in the fog.

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” ~Matthew 5:14 (NKJV)


Instead, we can shine because the Light of Jesus shines from within us. Because we are His, because we are royalty, His heirs, we can sparkle for the whole world to see. We can straighten our tiaras, shine em up a bit, and allow the light of Jesus to bounce off that tiara and shine for everyone to see.

There are so many people wandering around in the fog today. They may not know they’re in the fog so how are they going to know how to get out if we don’t sparkle and show them the way?


“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” ~Matthew 5:16 (NKJV)


That fog outside my door is creepy. But I am confident that that fog has no power over me. I won’t lose my sparkle in the fog. Don’t allow yours to get lost, either. Let’s sparkle today so others can see what wonderful things God is doing in our lives. Be a light and help someone find their way through the fog.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hidden

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. ~Psalm 91:1

A friend of mine recently made a Facebook post which included this verse. This just excited me and I commented, “I love that whenever we feel attacked, overwhelmed, or just out of sorts we can simply cry out to God and He immediately shields us, hiding us from the enemy.”

backyardnature.net
But you know, immediately after I posted this I was inspired that God gives us so much more than just a shield. When we are shielded by or “under the shadow of” the Almighty, we are hidden from the enemy.  Hidden!  
Did you get that? He can’t see us.

If he can’t see us, he can’t mess with us.  Think about this for a minute. 

In the movie Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent sends her minions and even her evil crow to fly throughout the kingdom, searching for the princess so that she could destroy her. But Maleficent couldn’t see her. Why? One reason is because Maleficent’s minions were morons, but Princess Aurora was hidden, literally in plain sight.

Now, change that to the devil looking for you.  By the way, he is looking for you.  God’s Word says that he “prowls around looking for someone to devour.” If he’s looking to devour you, dear lovelies that means he’s looking to literally destroy you.

BUT… He can’t.

Now let’s leave that for one minute and look at what happens when we run to our Almighty. Like hiding behind your mom’s skirts when you were little, or even under Grandma’s apron, you were hidden from whatever was after you. Whether you were hiding from a sibling, a friend, or something or someone who scared you, when you were under that shield, you were hidden and safe. You knew it. Why? Because you knew that Mom or Grandma wouldn’t let anything or anyone touch or harm you. That’s how it is with God, our Almighty Father, our Heavenly Daddy. He is our Refuge and Safe Place.

Can you imagine how frustrating it is for the devil that while he’s attacking you, wreaking havoc with your emotions and physical self, that suddenly you disappear? *POOF!* You are hidden from his sight. Invisible to the enemy. 

One word and you’re gone.

Jesus!

We are held in the palm of His hand. We are covered by the hand of God. Then we are sealed by the Holy Spirit. And nothing and no one can touch us. Period.

crated.com
Look lovelies, every day we wrestle with spiritual issues. They may come in various forms, causing us to think we are dealing with physical issues, personal issues with another, financial issues, mental or even emotional issues. But in reality it’s all stemmed from spiritual warfare.

The gist of it all is that we are attacked all day long, every day. We can handle it in one of two ways; physical or spiritual. If we handle it physically, we will wear ourselves out.  However, if we choose to handle it spiritually, we have immediate safety.

We may not see it with our physical eye, but if we look at it from a spiritual standpoint, we will see the hand of God moving in our situation, shielding us and rallying around us to bring our situation under His control. All we have to do is rest in Him, trust Him, and allow Him to do His thang.

Our Almighty, Most High, Heavenly Daddy, is our Strong Tower. We can run into Him and be safe. We can hide under His mighty wing, shielded from the enemy, hidden so that we can rest and recuperate. It’s not our battle, after all.  It belongs to the Lord.  And He has promised to fight for us. In fact, He already did, and He won. Therefore, we always win!

Are you tired today?  Are you running out of steam?  Have you run to the Almighty and allowed Him to hide you under His wing? If not, why are you still trying to do things on your own? Stop wearing yourself out and call to the Lord. He will hear you and answer you, but not before He shields you from your adversary.

Sometimes it’s a good thing to stay hidden for a while and rest. Gather your resources, put on your full armor, prepare for the wrestling match, and when you’re ready, God will raise his wing and you will appear before the enemy, already victorious… and there won’t be anything he can do about it. Why? Because as God raises His wing from you, you will already have your foot on the neck of the enemy and he will have to leave you alone.

Now, how exciting is that!

If you’re out of sorts today, let me encourage and challenge you today to run to God. While you’re hidden, pick up His Word and read Psalm 91. And if you want to read more encouragement, contact me for a limited reading list at shelley@shelleywilburn.org.


Until then…



Saturday, July 16, 2016

It's Your Choice

I stopped at Sonic on the way home one night, to get a lemonade and an unsweet tea for my husband and me.  As the young man brings our drinks to the car he greets me and says, “How are you tonight?”  I smile and respond that I’m doing wonderful and ask how he is, to which he replies, “Horrible!”

I’m stunned by his reply.  So I try to make things light and say, “Aw, it can't be that bad! Think positive.”  He’s not having any of it and begins to tell me about his lot in life, how bad things are, and this is his second time working at Sonic.  I’m wondering why he’s telling me so much when he looks at me and says, “Before, I would walk home with sixty dollars in tips.  Now I go home with only ten.”

As he’s digging for my change, I calmly look at him and say, “Keep the change.  Tip is for you.”  Not even this makes him happy.  His response is, “Are you sure?” 

I respond with, “Yes.  Now see?  Something positive in your day.”  Nope.   Not even that worked.  He walks away, still venting as I loudly end with, “Gotta think positive, dude!”

I drive away thinking out loud, “Wow, maybe if your attitude was better your life would be better.”

Yet, as I’m driving down the road thinking about this young man (this is the second negative encounter I've had with him I realized) and his negative outlook toward life I realize something very important; you have the power to choose which direction your life goes.
nymag.com

You can either choose to be a victim of your circumstances, or you can choose to rise above it and be victorious.  It’s your decision.  It’s your choice.

Maybe that sounds ridiculous.  It’s not.
Maybe it sounds too good to be true.  It isn’t.
You may say, “That sounds good in theory, but you don’t know what I’m going through.”
No. I don’t.  But you don’t know what I’m going through either.

Now, before you jump to conclusions and think I'm bashing this young man, think again.  I'm not.  But because of what he has said to me, this made me think.  My life isn’t perfect, either.  It’s not a bowl of cherries.  Things go bad, have gone bad even.  I don’t live in paradise with everything handed to me on a silver platter.  Life is life.  We all have negative things that happen.

However, every day I choose to walk healed.  Every day I choose to rise above.  Every day I choose to live as more than a conqueror.

Why?

Because God’s Word says I don’t have a spirit of fear.  I have power, love, and a sound mind.  God says I’m more than a conqueror.  God’s Word says that I can do all things through the strength He gives me.  He says I’m the head and not the tail. He says that I'm blessed going in and I'm blessed coming out.*  And He says much, much more even, but there’s not enough room to include it here.

You may roll your eyes and blow me off – you may say I’m a kook, an idiot, or a fake – that’s okay.  Because God’s Word also says that no weapon formed against me will prosper and every tongue that rises against me will fall.

But you know what else?  All of what I just said that God says about me… it’s also for you, too.

Whether you believe it or not, or live it or not – well –

I’ll be praying for that young man.  My hope is that God will show him how much he’s loved and that God is for him and not against him.  That’s my prayer for everyone I come in contact with whether personally or through my videos and blog posts. 

God is crazy about you dearest.  I hope you know that.  All the things happening in your life are to move you toward the wonderful plans God has for you.  It’s up to you to learn from them and move into your calling.  However, they won’t happen overnight or just out of the blue.  Victory is yours.  Jesus already paid for it.  Whether you receive it or not…

It’s your choice.





* For a list of Scripture used in this post, send an email to shelley@shelleywilburn.org with It's Your Choice Scriptures in the subject box.

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Hat

As I sit here trying to figure out how I want to word this post, I can see the man sitting in the booth at the restaurant my husband and I just dined in.  I can see “the hat” he wore, proudly I might add.  I can hear his low, somewhat scratchy voice as he talked to the young man who was dining with him.  I couldn’t make out what he was saying, just that he was talking.  I wasn’t facing him, but I saw him when he walked in.  I saw the hat and I knew.  However, from the sound of his voice I would have known that he was now an old man. 

His special hat was black with gold embroidered lettering claiming “World War II Veteran.”

There aren’t many of them left, you know.  That’s what makes him all the more special and what brings me to the crux of this post.  This man is part of the reason we celebrate July 4th.  Yes, I know we already celebrated this holiday long before this man was even born.  However, it doesn’t weaken the sacrifice or service he nor any other veteran past and present made when they served.
Pic from militarygr.com

My husband and I try to discreetly page our server and ask her to bring us his ticket.  We buy his dinner.  Of course my husband, trying to hurry forgets that I was still eating my dinner and therefore we are stalled in leaving before the man realizes who bought his and his companion’s dinner.  I hurry to finish and we stand to leave but… We got caught.  He motioned us over to his booth.

“Did you buy my dinner?”

I plaster my prettiest, sweetest smile on my face, mainly to prevent myself from breaking down, and stay quiet.  I always do.  His sacrifice just humbles me to tears.  My husband answered for the both of us though.

“Yes, I did.  I noticed your hat.”

“There aren’t many of us left, you know.”

“Yes, I do know.  Thank you for your service.”

“Ah, well you’re welcome.  You know, I’m from Sesser and there are only three of us left from there.”  

They’re all in their nineties.  But this man doesn’t talk or act like it.  I would have never known other than I know about the age one who served in WWII should be.   This Veteran is sharp as a tack.

As we turned to leave, my husband says one more time, though almost in tears himself, “Thank you again for all you did for us.”

“Well, you’re welcome.”

It’s things like this that make what we do all worth it.  Why not buy the dinner of someone wearing the hat identifying them as a Veteran?  It’s the least we can do for what they did for us.  But even if you can’t buy their dinner, definitely go up and tell them you noticed their hat then thank them for their service. 

I met a Vietnam Veteran one time in an antique store.  I know, that sounds funny.  He wasn’t on the shelf.  He was working in the store.  As I was paying for my treasures, he struck up a conversation with my daughter-in-law and me.  He was a rough as a cob, gravelly voice and attitude to match, biker dude.  It was a front.  I knew it.  He was wearing the hat so I gauged my moment carefully.  It wasn’t long before he hinted about serving in Vietnam.  That’s when I spoke up.

“I noticed your hat.  Thank you for your service.”

He just stopped and stared at me.  I smiled my sweet, little smile.  This rough-around-the-edges, biker, Vietnam Veteran didn’t know how to respond.  It was okay.  It wasn’t easy for him, he had already let me know that.  I just wanted him to know that I knew and I appreciated what he did.  It wasn’t easy for me but as he stared at me I stared back, looking him square in the eye, smile on my face, until he saw that I was sincere. 

“You’re welcome.  I appreciate that.”

“I appreciate what you did.”

We left it at that and I left.

My whole point of this post is that Independence Day is so much more than the fireworks.  It’s more than a backyard barbeque.  We often forget that all around us are men and women who have served our country so that we can celebrate the freedom that we so often take for granted and that is under attack even more today than ever.


So the next time you see “the hat” don’t ignore it.  Instead, if you can, buy the dinner, pay it forward, or just go up and shake a hand and tell the Veteran underneath the hat a very sincere, “Thank you for your service.”


Monday, June 20, 2016

No Guilt or Shame

The words were attached to a comment I made on social media.  They were meant to cut, degrade, ridicule, and insult.  There was no remorse.  There was no love.  There was not even the slightest hint of kindness.  The words said, or rather written, were meant to disprove the comment I had made.  The hateful words were not just meant for the comment I made but also to prevent others from coming in contact with my published work.  In other words, these words were meant to ruin me; to send me into shame and guilt and ultimately to silence me.

But they didn’t.

Instead, I had the most astounding and uplifting response that my attacker will never know; laughter.  Yes, I laughed while also shaking my head and shaking the dust from my shoes.


People will do that to another.  They will especially do that to ones who proclaim Jesus.  Because of my healing, there are people who would rather I just shut my mouth and remain silent because they cannot fathom a healing so profound.  They can’t understand it.  They can’t accept it.  Therefore, they set out to disprove it and to cause shame and guilt to the one professing healing.  However, they cannot disprove my healing.  They cannot disprove my relationship with the Lord, nor can they disprove what I’ve written.

Granted, this is not about me or what I’ve written.  It’s about standing your ground and not letting others guilt and shame you into silence.  You know, there are many people today who won’t speak up because of another person’s comments, jabs, insults, and control.  They are so beat down with guilt and shame that they cannot stand for themselves.  But you were never meant to carry that, lovely ones.  You were never meant to carry guilt and shame.  You were made to stand out.

No shadow of shame.

In Psalm 34:5 it states quite clearly that “Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.”  How then can you possibly carry guilt and shame with you if you’ve trusted Jesus to heal you?  You can’t.

Jesus came so we could have abundant life (John 10:10).  He didn’t save you so you could walk around defeated all the time.  He wants you to stand tall, smile, and walk in confidence that your past is forgiven and forgotten.  And everything you say from now on will give glory to Him and show a lost and dying world, and show those who are suffering that there is freedom in Christ.  You are walking, talking proof positive of that.

They just don’t get it.

Yet there are still those who will try to proclaim the opposite.  Why?  Because they can’t understand it.  They simply don’t get it.  The Bible even says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

Don’t allow someone to guilt or shame you into staying silent when God has called you to speak out.  I’ve been told my words were “vile” and “garbage.”  I find the word vile to be quite hilarious when the words I had said were words of encouragement and all about Jesus, including mentioning His name!  People thought the name Jesus was vile?  Only because they don’t know Him.

Shed some light.

See?  Even those who don’t know His name find it offensive because His name sheds light into their dark lives.  And we all know that light overcomes darkness.  Think of it – once you’ve been in a dark room and you turn on the light, your eyes hurt until they get used to the light.  You find the light disturbing, vile, and uncomfortable don’t you?  It’s the same with non-believers.

The next time someone verbally attacks you, trying to get you to stay silent about what Jesus has done for you, just remember that the light coming from your testimony is shattering their darkness.  But whatever you do, don’t allow them to flip your switch and turn you off.  Instead, shine brighter!


“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” ~Matthew 5:16 (NKJV)


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