Sunday, April 1, 2018

Come Awake!

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. I’ve also been doing a lot of procrastinating. Frankly, I’ve known God wants me to do something and all I’ve been doing is making excuses. That, my friends, is blatant disobedience. For that, there is no excuse.

Oh, I could give one reason after another why I haven’t followed through. But I even have a reason for my reason; it’s an excuse. And an excuse is just a lie, disguised as a reason. Ouch. So, for that, Lord, I’m sorry.

The truth is, every day we are attacked in one way after another. The enemy of our souls has asked to sift us like wheat. Lately, much of that has looked like death to a good number of us. Some of us have lost family, and friends. Therefore, our focus has turned to the tragedy, the loss, the grief, and overwhelming sadness.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” –Luke 22:31-32 (NLT)

I’m not diminishing it one iota. It’s all overwhelming sometimes. But as I started to write this it was just a few days before we celebrate Easter, and it was raining. For days. Thinking back on why we celebrate this occasion, I’m reminded of what Jesus went through just before His crucifixion. I can’t imagine the weight He must have felt. Nor can I imagine the confusion, sadness, and heavy feelings the disciples must have felt. Then again, maybe I can… just a little. While I’m feeling quite a bit sifted myself, I also have hope and an excitement building.

We often focus on the problems in our lives…maybe a little too much. In so doing, we have allowed a drought to take over our minds. This is exactly what the enemy wants to happen. If he can get us to believe we are dried up, shriveled, useless, then he can prevent us from growing. Remember, whatever we sow, that we shall also reap (Galatians 6:7). Therefore, if all we speak are negative things, if all we do is focus on the bad things that have happened, or are happening in, or around, our lives, that’s exactly what will continue.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” –Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV)

I had put my writing down for a couple of days, and now here it is, Easter. The rain stopped for a while and the sun came out. You know, we celebrate Easter because, although Jesus went through probably the worst death anyone could go through, He came back to life. He rose again. People… Jesus. Got. Back. Up. He’s alive!

That in itself is cause for celebration. As I sat in church and listened to my pastor’s message, I began to realize that the message of the cross; the death, burial, resurrection, is more than just that. It’s not just about salvation. It’s about life! It’s about healing. It’s about forgiveness. It’s about renewal, safety, love, grace, mercy, abundance. It’s about everything because it is everything.

Maybe that’s confusing for some. But look at the cross. It’s so much more than just a tree. There was a t-shirt I saw once that stated, “Jesus beat the devil with a big, ugly stick.” It’s kind of funny when you read it, but ponder that for a minute. The cross wasn’t just about Jesus dying and coming back to life. The cross, while it is a big, ugly stick, is also the source of our healing, salvation, even our very lives. Once we see that, it changes everything.

So, this Easter (and really every day) is, and should be, so much more than we can imagine. Therefore, no matter what you’re going through, grab onto the cross, heave it up, over your head, and declare victory over every aspect of your life!

“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” –John 10:10 (Amplified Bible)

The devil (the thief), may be trying to sift us, attack us, or destroy us, but we have the upper hand because of Jesus. Once we grasp this very truth, we become a force to be reckoned with. We need to come awake and pay attention. The devil wants to keep us from becoming who we were meant to be. He wants to prevent us from encouraging and helping others. The devil actually wants to keep us from discovering who we really are. But, he cannot win because he has already been defeated. More than that, because of Jesus, WE WIN… and not just a little. We win BIG!

“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” –Romans 8:37 (NLT)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Stop Remembering What God Forgot

As I said goodbye to 2017… wait… that’s not entirely true. I actually wanted to scream, “GOOD RIDDANCE!” Yeah, that felt a bit better. Any rate, I said goodbye and began the New Year by having gone to bed early.

Last year (even though 2017 was only a few days ago) brought many trying times. I won’t go into detail, but I will say, I have recently realized God was teaching me some things. Through some very rough times, He has never left me. Although, I’ve thought a time or two that He did… but, I learned my lesson on that one years ago. I don’t want a repeat of the lesson. It was too frightening. This brings me to the biggest lesson, which I just realized today.

God has been trying to get my attention for a while. I’ve seen it. I’ve listened. Then, promptly forgot, because why? I’m not paying attention.

I’m distracted.

After listening to my pastor on Sunday, I realized that, while he’s preaching to the entire church body, God was directing his (my pastor’s) words to me. Yes, it was for me. And the message was clear:

The enemy is messing with you and you are letting him. Stop it!

I’ve been fretting over many things lately and pretty much having a spiritual pity party because I don’t seem to have the oomph I once had. Well, whose fault is that? Mine. It’s my fault for allowing the enemy to sneak in and clothesline me.

It was two days later that it all became quite clear. I was reading a blog post by an author friend of mine, which had also been posted on Sunday (imagine that). She, too, had been given a message from the Lord. Apparently she and I were in the same boat spiritually. But it was her revelation that brought on mine.

Her message: “You see a thief and help him.”*

Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy…” Who’s the thief? The devil. What does he steal, kill and destroy? Anything he can. But what I was doing was allowing him to steal my peace, my joy, and I was allowing him to bring back old memories of stuff God had long since forgiven and forgotten (Hebrews 8:12 and 10:17), along with stuff He had healed me from. A rather sneaky attack, if you ask me.

So, here I am, reading about someone I’ve never met personally, having the same struggles as myself. How ironic, yet not a coincidence. This brought me back to what I heard and learned in church on Sunday. I’ve compiled them below:

#1 Get the Word of God in you and encourage yourself.

Well, great. I had taken the easy way out and all but stopped reading the Bible. In fact, I was reading the Bible, sort of. Actually, I was reading the Verse of the Day, and then listening to the Bible read to me by clicking the audio button. Yes, it’s wonderful. But as soon as my allotted verses were finished, I closed the app. I was done. I wasn’t allowing God to speak to me and I wasn’t encouraging myself in His Word.

#2 Inquire of the LORD (ask Him questions)

This one was tricky. I asked the Lord questions, but really, not the right ones. My questions consisted of why’s and what for’s, instead of actually asking Him questions so I can learn. There’s a difference. It’s all in your attitude. Mine stank.

#3 Engage with the LORD (pursue Him, meet with Him)

Again, tricky. Every morning, when I wake up, I tell the Lord, good morning and I also tell Him I love Him. That much is true. I really do. It’s what was coming after that that had me in a conundrum. I was redundant, stale, and repetitious. Yes, we are to “keep asking, seeking and knocking” (Matthew 7:7), but mine was unfeeling as well. How could I expect any answers from Him if I’m not willing to ask sincerely? Exactly. I can’t.

#4 Be inspired by the LORD (let Him show you and teach you things)

I wasn’t getting any answers because I wasn’t allowing myself to actually engage with Him, so how could He inspire me? Yet, early in the morning (middle of the night) He wakes me up with words so clear, then a nudge to write them down, so I quickly did (that’s for another time). The point is, even though I’ve been disobedient, He is ever faithful and blessed me before calling me out. It was a kind of teaser; I’ll give you this if you’ll give me that.

But it just hit me that it was more like, Come to Me because I’m getting ready to show you something amazing.

How often we forget that God is for us, not against us (Romans 8:31). He loves us. He cherishes us. All of us! We are chosen (Ephesians 1:4). So why, oh why, do we think we aren’t good enough for Him to love us? The answer is, because instead of putting the devil, our great enemy, in his place and moving on, we allow him to stop us by telling us we aren’t good enough, and allow him to whisper lies to us. “Remember when you did…”

What we should do is retaliate, “But do you remember when Jesus defeated you on the cross, then rose from the dead? Do you remember that you lost?” (James 4:7)

Trust me, he does remember.

Ridiculous as this may sound to you, we really are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). That means overwhelming victory belongs to you and to me because we believe in Jesus.

It’s 2018. It should be a fresh start. Regroup. Come out swinging. I’ve got a job to do. We all do. How we do it, is our individual calling. I know mine. Do you know yours? If you don’t, get in God’s Word, read, pray, and search for your answer. Need help? Ask! But whatever you do, stop letting the devil steal from you and stop letting him bring up the past.

You know, one of the biggest lessons from Sunday could quite possibly be:
Stop remembering the things that God has forgotten!

It’s time to tell the devil to take a hike. Let’s take 2018 by storm and make a difference. By next New Year’s Eve, I hope we can all say, “Wow! What a great ride!”


*Blog post reference from Danele Rotharmel

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Series of Unfortunate Events

After watching a particularly emotional video about praising God even through your darkest, most painful moments, I began to think about some things our family has gone through lately. I won’t go into all of it because what we went through is not the point. However, it’s how we went through it.

I’ll start by saying the events we’ve endured through the last couple of years would bring most people to a point of anger, bitterness, resentment, and maybe even blaming God for their series of unfortunate events. But God never said we would have it easy in this life. Although He did send Jesus so we could have an abundant life. Here. Now.

Sounds like a contradiction doesn’t it? It’s not.

We can have an abundant, wonderful life and still face trials, attacks, illness, and many other things. But in Psalm 23, it states;

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” ~Psalm 23:4 (NLT)

You may know that verse like this, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me…” (KJV). We will walk through many dark valleys and though we walk through the shadow of death, something scary, something tormenting, a series of unfortunate events, God has promised that He is right there with us, close by, protecting us, watching us, comforting us. If we will but acknowledge Him and receive (accept) His help.

Maybe, like us recently, you don’t understand why all these things in your life are taking place. The most important thing you can do during these bleak times is praise the Lord. No, it doesn’t make sense to praise God when you’ve lost someone you love. It doesn’t make sense to praise God when your house is flooded and you’ve lost many, if not all your possessions. It doesn’t make sense to praise God when the doctor just gave you a devastating report.

But it does make sense to praise Him because you’re still here, you’re still alive. Most importantly, you’re still able to praise Him because He is God. He is still on the throne. He is still in control and He has the last word on your situation, your life, the lives of your family, your finances, your health, your home, your job, your very existence.

That’s why you praise Him through your own series of unfortunate events.

The enemy, the devil, has come to steal, kill and destroy everything that means something to you; your happiness, your joy, your health, your family, relationships, finances, ministry, everything. But Jesus came so that we can have life and have it more abundantly (See John 10:10). In this life and the life to come.
So how do we do that? How do we praise God in our circumstances? How do we defeat the devil? We defeat him because he’s already been defeated. Jesus did that for us. Then He gave us authority to stand firm in our faith and declare the devil defeated, to rebuke him, rebuke our series of unfortunate events, and He gives us the confidence to stand in faith (Ephesians 6:13, NKJV), proclaiming that we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us (Romans 8:37).

Yes! You can do that! You may have a hard time wrapping your head around the fact but it’s true.

If you’re still dealing with stuff…let me encourage you to stop dealing and start praising. Stop allowing the enemy or anyone else to keep you chained to the negative. Break those chains by standing and praising the One who can lead you out of every unfortunate event that is trying to plague you. It may seem impossible but remember with God all things are possible.

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” ~Matthew 19:26 (NLT)



**  Never miss a post! Follow this blog by registering in the right hand column. Also follow Shelley on her Amazon Author page and social media; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest (links in the right column). Shelley Wilburn is the author of the Walking Healed books, which take you on a journey of finding not only healing, but forgiveness, grace, hope, and discovering your purpose. You can find Walking Healed and the Walking Healed Companion Bible study at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Your Suffering is Over

“And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” ~Mark 5:34 (NLT)

You’re standing in a crowd of people. You’ve been ill for years. The doctors have given you no hope. They’ve taken your money, given you treatment that made you even more sick, then told you, “There’s nothing more we can do for you.” You’re sick. You’re tired. You’re sick of being sick and tired. You have no hope left. Yet you are not ready to die.

Then He walks by. Jesus. You’ve heard about Him; heard the stories of Him healing people who come to Him. Dare you believe He could possibly be interested in healing you? But you’re weak from your illness. He is surrounded by so many people there’s no way you could get through them to even talk to Him. Then you have an idea and you move forward, coming up behind Him through the crowd. You being to think, as you stretch your hand toward Him, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.”

Instantly, you feel in your body that you’ve been healed of your condition. But then He stops and speaks, “Who touched me?” He knows? He felt that slight touch? Yet here He is, asking who touched Him. You have to confess.

Shaking all over you move forward, fall to your knees in front of Him and tell Him everything. Then you wait. You wait for the ridicule, the condemnation, the rebuke. After all, you didn’t have an appointment. You don’t have payment. You spent all that on medical treatment. You have nothing left. Head bowed, you wait.

But you’re about to be surprised.

“Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”

What? He said my suffering is over? I’m really and truly well? Absolutely!

Notice in the story that the woman’s faith made her well. She came to Jesus not only in faith but expectancy. Though she had been suffering and ill for years, she expected something to happen… now… and it did! When she released her faith, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed,” she expected to get healed, and instantly she was.

So tell me, what have you been believing God for? I know you’re expectant and been preparing for your answer. Maybe you’re considering giving up. Don’t. You must keep moving forward. That’s called pressing through. Keep praying. Keep asking. Keep seeking. Keep knocking. Because when God sees your faith, when He sees you are not quitting, He will meet you with His miraculous power and things will start happening. You will step forward in the victory He has planned for you.

Don’t give up. Regardless if it’s been several days or several years, keep pressing through. You’re on the verge of victory!

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. ~Matthew 7:7 (NLT)



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