Saturday, July 19, 2014

Snakes in the Garden

Have you ever walked out into your garden, or any garden for that matter, and come upon a snake? That's enough to give your heart palpatations! I'm not fond of snakes. In fact, I hate them. Yes, I know that some snakes are good for the garden, good for your yard, and eat mice and other not-so-lovely creatures. But they also eat the good ones too and will hide in the grass waiting to strike you when you least expect it. So I'm not fond of them. My husband dislikes them even more than I do, and he will go as far as to tell you that he hates them.

You know, a snake (serpent) is what the devil disguised himself as in the Garden of Eden when he pulled one over on Eve, and then Adam (see Genesis 3). Isn't that just like an enemy? Disguise himself as something else in order to trick you into thinking or acting a certain way, or to get you to mess up.

For years, he tricked me into believing that I was no good. He tricked me into believing that my life didn't matter, that no one cared about me, that I was useless, and most of all that God didn't have any use for me either. So, why even try? Why even get out of bed in the morning? No one was going to defend me. No one was going to care. No one was going to like me, love me, or help me. Wrong!

I had been married for nearly thirty years, raised three children, watched them grow up, get married, and begin having children of their own, and I still thought I didn't have a purpose! How ridiculous was that! I slipped in and out of depression, had panic and anxiety attacks with no warning, and my weight fluctuated up and down for years. But then  a miracle happened...God healed me!

For too many years I had listened to one snake after another tell me I couldn't, I shouldn't, and I wouldn't. But God said I COULD, I SHOULD, and I WOULD! He knew before I was even born that I would be writing this right now. The enemy knew I would and tried to prevent it. But you know what? The enemy doesn't have any power. For too many years I allowed the enemy to control me, until I discovered that he only had power because I gave it to him. Not anymore!

The enemy is a sneaky, vile, snake who is waiting to strike when you least expect it. But he doesn't have any power. You do! You need to put your foot down right on top of the enemy and take control back! You may be wondering how to do that. Let me explain; all you have to do is make up your mind, and tell him NO! Then ask the Lord to fill you with peace, comfort, and a sound mind, because the truth is that you do NOT have a spirit of fear. You do have power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

It's time to get the snakes out of your garden. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It Ain't Over!

I grew up hearing a lot of cliche's, Old Wives Tales, Superstitions, and things that the "Hill People" (that's people who live in the hills or mountains) live by. My grandpa was born in the "hills of Kentucky" and they had a lot of old sayings that, to them, were as true as true could be. Oh great, there was another one!

One of the most popular ones I've heard through the years is, "It ain't over till the fat lady sings!" Well, okay. Considering that my grandmother was...well...hefty. She never sang. Which in our family, nothing was ever OVER. But seriously, what does that even mean? It ain't over till the fat lady sings.
From Wikipedia
Amalie Materna as the valkyrieBrünnhilde (1876)

For what it's worth, according to Wikipedia, the statement is a colloquialism (a word or phrase appropriate to conversations and other informal situations). It means that one should not presume to know the outcome of an event which is still in progress. Whoa! In modern terms, don't jump to conclusions! Hmm. It also goes on to say that this term is generally used to stereotype buxom or overweight sopranos of Grand Opera. For example, the "fat lady" is the Valkyrie Brunnhilde who sings an aria lasting twenty minutes, which leads up to the end of the opera, after one last line by another character and a smashing orchestral finale. So in essence, it is all over when the fat lady sings!

But what does that mean for us? What significance does that have for me and you? We often go through trials and times when we just wonder, "Is it over?" We get a bad report, we feel ill for long periods of time, we lose someone we love, we lose our job, our finances are in dire straits, on and on and on...and we think it's all over. But it isn't. And it had nothing to do with a fat lady singing! Why?

Because it's not over until GOD says it's over!

God has the first, middle, and FINAL say over our lives, over time, over our situations, over everything. And when HE says it's over, then and only then is it over. No one can say or do otherwise. The fat lady can sing all she wants to, but it won't be over until God says so.

... looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ~ Hebrews 12:2 (emphasis added)

I can't reiterate that enough. I have watched many people just give up and mope and cry their lives away because of something that happens. Listen lovelies, the doctor does not have the final say-so. Your friends don't have the final say-so. Your family doesn't have the final say-so. Not even you have the final say-so! Only GOD does. And until we get that in our heads and our hearts, our lives will not change.

I've said it before, I spent too many years listening to what others said about me and to me. It was constantly spoken over me that I would grow up to be lazy and good for nothing. I was told that I would be fat, that I would ultimately have nerve problems, that I would have heart disease, kidney problems, and eventually cancer. What a lovely thing for a family to say and do to one of their own! Yet they did. But do you want to know a secret? God never said I would suffer ANY of those things! NEVER! And while I have had some issues through the years, it was because I didn't know any better. 

The things I suffered in the forty-plus years before God healed me was due to the fact that no one ever, ever explained the promises of God to me. Only one person tried, and I always thought he was telling me just to cheer me up. Because he was my husband, I thought that it was his job to tell me pretty, flowery, sweet words to encourage me and make me feel better. Well, little did I know that this wise man, wise beyond his years, was one of the keys to my healing!

However, when God healed me, all those things holding me down were ripped away and suddenly I could see! Not only with my eyes, but my heart and soul. That's when I realized that the fat lady could stop singing because she was only annoying me.

There are so many promises on your life right now. Do you realize that? Do you know that you are more than a conqueror? Do you know that you are chosen? Do you know that you do not have to live depressed, distracted, or even defeated? You, dear lovelies, are victorious! Because of what Jesus did on the cross, because He rose again, he defeated death, disease, depression, and every other thing that the enemy tries to plague you with. You are victorious! God's Word says so! So start living that way!

Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. ~James 4:7

Maybe you haven't quite reached that point in your life. Maybe you're saying, "That's all well and good for you, Shelley, but you don't know what I'm going through." No, I don't. But God does and He is bigger, more powerful than anything you have going on in your life, ever! You need to turn to Him and claim that victory! Claim that healing! Ask and you shall receive! Believe and receive! Don't know how? Okay. I didn't either. But I'm going to tell you how right now.

If you truly want healing for yourself or anyone else you know, you simply have to go to God and ASK. Think of a little child asking for something they want. They are very bold about it. They aren't shy about it. They don't even feel bad for asking. They walk right up to you and ask. That's how God wants you to come to Him. Boldly. No fear. No doubt. Just walk right up to Him and say, "God, I have this ___________ in my life. I need deliverance. I need healing. Your Word says that by His stripes I am healed. Your Word says that whatever I ask for in prayer, believing, I receive. So right now God, I am asking. In the name of Jesus, I am declaring ________________________ over my life. Holy Spirit, come. Saturate me and my life. Walk and talk with me. I receive You. In the name of Jesus. Amen and Amen!"

It's that simple. I don't know what you're going through. But God does. And He can fix it. You may see results soon, you may not. But whether you do or don't it doesn't mean God didn't hear you. You just have to have faith in Him. Trust Him. Because when it's all said and done, it ain't over till God says it's over.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Just Reach Up!

A few weeks ago my daughter Rachel, sent me a picture of my grandson, Abraham raising his hand during worship at their church. It brought me to tears, looking at the worship going on not only with my daughter, but my two-year-old grandson! It was a few weeks later when they were up from Louisiana for a visit that I heard the entire story.

We were driving down the road together and a song came on the radio. I started singing. Rachel reached over and turned up the volume and said, "This is the song they were doing in church the day Abraham raised his hand in the air." Then she proceeded to tell me what had happened...

Rachel explained that Abraham loves going to "big church." He loves listening to the worship music. She said that people had their hands in the air all around them, like they usually do during worship. Abraham usually has his hand up, but it's only about shoulder high. Plus, he watches the people all around him, and then he looks to his mommy for her approval. On this particular day, during this one song, something in her told her to say to Abe, "If you raise your hand,  Jesus will reach down and touch your fingers."

She said that it wasn't long before Abraham's little hand shot up in the air. What happened next, not only that day at her church, but in the car with us as she retold the story, is a genuine Holy Spirit moment... Rachel explained, "I KNOW Jesus touched him! I KNOW He did because when Abe put his hand in the air, something went through his little body. I felt it go through him. His whole body changed and I know Jesus touched him!" That's when he said, "Mommy, I can feel Jesus touching my fingers!"

Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” ~Luke 18:16-17 NLT

Has Jesus reached down and touched  your fingers lately? Have you reached up to touch His? Abraham is two. He's so trusting. He's so full of energy and life. And already he loves Jesus. He sings songs about Him all the time. His mommy sends me videos of his singing. Just when I think I've "got it" Abraham teaches his Nonney about true worship and the love of God. It's so simple, yet we make it so hard.

My point is that, just as little Abraham trusted enough to just reach up for a touch from Jesus we should be too. The faith of this child, or any child for that matter, should teach us just how simple a relationship with Jesus really is! You say put your hand in the air and Jesus will reach down and touch your fingers? Okay, I'll just reach up!

That's how it was for me when I was healed. That night I kept thinking, I don't know how to do this. But that still small voice said to me, "Just let go." Let go of what? Let go of my way of thinking. Let go of what I didn't understand and just reach for what I was after. Let go of what the world says. Let go of everything I thought I knew. Let go and just reach! My response, my step of faith, my reach, resulted in my healing and Jesus changing my life forever! It can happen for you, too!

 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. ~2 Peter 3:9 NLT

The man who was praying with me that night told ME to pray, but I wasn't sure what to pray FOR! He asked me if I wanted healing, and I said I did. He said to me, "So ask for it!" How simple, yet we make it so complex! But let me tell you something, just reaching up for a touch from the Lord requires you to 1, ask for it; and 2, take action. In other words, just reach up!

Jesus is just a breath away, just a prayer away. He wants to touch your fingers, your soul, all of you. All you have to do is just reach up!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Get Back in the Closet!

I've been asked before, and I've also heard people talk about having a Prayer Closet. For a long time I thought that to be a literal "closet" where one went to pray! You may be laughing right now, and that's okay if you are. But let me ask you, do you have a prayer closet?

Let me put it in simpler terms: Do you have a special, private, place that you like to go by yourself to talk to the Lord? My absolute favorite place is on a balcony, in the mountains, overlooking a rushing creek. But when I can't be there, my favorite place is at the end of my porch. I call it "The Stoop." Yours could be a spare bedroom, a favorite chair, a trail in the woods, even your car! My husband's favorite place is on his motorcycle, riding down the road. 

But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. ~Matthew 6:6

Whatever, or wherever you go, this is your "Prayer Closet." Someplace private. Someplace where no one else goes with you. This is your very private special place where you meet and spend time with God. You don't always have to talk. Maybe you just spend time listening, waiting for Him to speak to you. Because face it, He already knows what's on your heart.

Yes, it's good to bring all your cares to Him (1 Peter 5:7), but sometimes it's also good to just "be still" and listen.

Be still and know that I am God! ~Psalms 46:10a NLT

In my prayer closet, I see and hear many things. The best thing about my prayer closet is that it's portable. I can take it with me anywhere, because I can pray anywhere! But the best thing about my time spent in my prayer closet is that God is always there.

In the 60's, the Beach Boys sang this song and the first few lines went, "There's a world where I can go, and tell my secrets to. In my room. In my room...."

Jesus went away by Himself to pray alone, in private. The Beach Boys went into their room. Whether alone in the wilderness, woods, a room with a door, a balcony in the mountains, on a motorcycle, or wherever is your favorite place to linger, get back in the "closet." God is waiting for you there.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

More Than Expected

Sometimes with God, you get a lot more than you ever expected. Okay... ALWAYS with God you get more than you expected. Why? Because God is an abundantly giving God, and He wants to bless His kids with so much more than we could ever imagine or dream possible.

For too many years though, I had absolutely no idea that God wanted to bless me. Instead, I thought that God was this great big Judge, Jury, and Jailer, who was waiting for me to mess up so that He could convict me, sentence me, and then zap me into oblivion for some stupid mistake I made. Sound familiar?

When God healed me though, I discovered that He was not who I had Him pegged to be. Of course He was the God who saved me, but He also showed me that not only did He save me from an eternity in hell, He saved me from a miserable life on earth, too! He also showed me that He is a gentleman, He is kind, loving, generous, gentle, and my list can go on and on. But another thing I learned about God is that He actually WANTS to bless me! He wants to give me things, and He wants me to receive them gladly.

You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it. ~Matthew 21:22, NLT

The night I was healed, God actually gave me a whole lot more than I ever thought was possible. Not only did He heal my mind from the many years of verbal and emotional abuse that plagued me, He also put me back together mentally, emotionally, and then began a physical healing inside me!

God gave me more self-esteem, more confidence, and a presence about me that people actually notice. I didn't know it was there, but it is. This didn't happen overnight, but the process began in an instant.

Maybe you feel as if things in your life are hopeless. They aren't. Maybe you feel as if no one cares. They do. Maybe you think God has forgotten you. He hasn't. He is crazy about you! He wants to bless you. He loves you and wants you to let Him. It might seem way out there, but honestly God does not want you to hurt or be hurt. So if there are things going bad in your life, you can be assured that God is not the cause of it!

God is a God of abundance. He created you for great things and has great big plans for you. So right where you are, why not ask Him to help you? He's just a breath away. And you can be confident that with God, you will get a whole lot more than you ever expected.

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