Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Safe!

I need you all to know something right now: You. Are. SAFE!

No matter what you’re going through, what you’ve been through, or where you’re at this moment, you are safe and can be safe if you’ll run to God.

Though our circumstances and our very lives can seem to be out of control, we can rest assured that God has us right where He wants us. It may not feel like it. However, when we feel overwhelmed, scared, tense, stressed, hurt, angry, anxious, ill, or even threatened, we can run to Him and He promises to shelter us, even to hide us, beneath His wings.


“He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” ~Psalm 91:4 (NLT)

I know that being sheltered can mean a lot of different things to many people. However, to me it means that my God not only shelters me, but He keeps me protected. His promises never fail. He never goes back on any of them. He can be trusted for everything. Every little itty bitty thing in my life, God cares about. The same is true for you too, my lovely friend.

Let’s face it, there are a lot of ugly things going on right now in the world. It can get stressful. It can get ridiculous. It can play on our minds and get out of hand if we let it. Or we can turn to the One who never changes, Who is always steadfast, always anchored and allow Him to anchor us as well.


“So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.  Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.” ~Hebrews 6:18-20 (NLT, emphasis mine)

I find great hope in Him because He never changes. So I never have to worry about Him changing His mind on protecting me, saving me, healing me, or helping me. He promised He would and that will never change. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” ~Hebrews 13:8 (NLT) He’s never mad at me or you, even in our worst times. I can back into something in my car, dent it pretty good, get out and utter a curse word, and God is still not mad at me. He still loves me and He is still protecting me. Of course, He does like it when I go to him and apologize (that’s called repenting). When I do, He is quick to forgive me and forget the incident, for which I’m even more thankful.

“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. ~1 John 1:9 (NLT)



 The point is that with Him I am safe. I am safe from everything and everyone who comes against me for whatever reason. And right now in my life, there are many things coming at me. The dent in the car was one of the minor ones.

God wants to protect us. He’s our Daddy, why wouldn’t He want to? Maybe that’s difficult for some to believe. Maybe your earthly dad wasn’t there for you. Maybe instead of protecting you, your earthly dad harmed you. For many, the earthly dad caused you to have a distorted view of the unconditional love of your heavenly Dad. It’s hard to imagine a God Who promises never to hurt you when your earthly dad did. I get that. So how do you get past it?

Here’s my suggestion:

Start reading God’s Word (the Bible). Use a translation that you can understand. I use the New Living Translation (as you’ve seen above). I also bounce back and forth between other translations like the New King James Version, the Amplified, the Message, and my most recent find, the Passion Translation, which reads like a beautiful love letter. Read whatever touches you. Just read! My recommendation is to start reading in the book of John (New Testament) and also the Psalms (Old Testament). You get a little bit of Old Testament and New Testament at the same time.

Whatever you do, be sure to let it soak in. Let it speak to you. Read a couple of verses and then think about what it’s saying. Take notes. Write down your thoughts. Write down His thoughts. Let the Holy Spirit speak to you about what He wants you to know in that passage.

 Everyone gets something different out of reading Scripture. I don’t know how it happens other than to say this is God’s Word, His Love Letter to you and me. It will say whatever He wants to say to YOU. And that’s the most beautiful thing about it.

He wants you to know right now that with Him, you are safe. From everything. Yes, we will go through some hard things. Tough things. Things that will cause us hurt. But through it all, He is there, He hurts with us. Yet, He is also teaching us something so pay attention and learn while you’re there because down the road He will have you use what you’ve learned to help someone else. I know this from personal experience.


Oh, how much you are loved right now, dear friends. It’s not a hoax. God is not a hoax. He is very real. He is very much in love with you. Whatever you’re going through right now, don’t allow the enemy (the devil) or someone who is nay saying to keep you from turning to the One True God who loves you more than life itself. After all… He gave His life once, then took it back up again to defeat the devil, death, and hell… All for us.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." ~John 16:33 (NLT, emphasis mine)

Blessings to you!

Shelley

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Field of Hope

Have you ever felt as if you’re smack in the middle of chaos? You know, nothing seems to be going right. Everywhere you turn, things fall apart. Something you were waiting and hoping for just fell through. Regardless of the situation or what is going on, you may feel as if your life just took a nosedive. You feel shattered. Yeah, I’m right there with you.


However, though we may feel as if our lives are out of control, they really aren’t. Oh sure, it seems that way on our end, but from where God is looking everything is going along right on schedule and He sees the beautiful outcome. Personally, I sometimes wish He would let me in on what He sees so I can maybe not feel so much tension and stress… know what I mean?

You know, what I’ve learned in these situations is that it’s not for me (or you) to know or even understand. These situations where the stress and tension are high, the heartbreak can give a large reading on the Richter Scale and someone just turned off the oxygen supply in the room where you’re sitting are just exercises for us to lean more heavily and more prominently on the LORD. These are for us to learn to trust Him in every aspect of our lives.

Yes, it feels as if your heart is going to shatter into a million pieces. Yes, it feels as if no one understands and maybe they even voice that to you, which breaks your heart even further. Yes, you are starting to wonder if even God loves you or even remembers you’re still here waiting for Him to do something… anything! Yet, He seems silent.

Trust me… God is anything but silent.

Oh, dear lovely siblings, God is right where He’s always been and you and I are right where He wants us to be. If you’ll stop for a moment with me and look around and even look up, I know we will find that He has led us straight into a field of hope where He is whispering to us, “Wait.”

That may be the hardest thing for any of us to do. Yet it’s what He has asked us to do. Wait. He is working everything out for each of us. He is making sure things are going the way He planned. And the beautiful thing about it all is God has us stalled in the field of hope so as to keep us safe. Oh, maybe we don’t feel safe; we feel battered, bruised, abused, neglected, hurt, shattered and hopeless.


What in the world would God have us doing out in a field, out in the open where we are like sitting ducks, where the enemy can take pot shots at us and we have no cover? Actually, while we are in said field, our hope is in the LORD. While we pause to wait on Him, He has us covered with His wings, protecting us, hiding us. The enemy is confused because we ran out into a field… then stopped. However, he can’t touch us because we are protected beneath the shadow of the wings of the LORD. 

Sounds like a fairytale doesn’t it? It’s not. Though we are in battle, we have found refuge. Like when playing tag… we are on Base and It can’t touch us.

In this time of battle, whatever it is we are battling, though we are a bit knocked around, scratched up, cracked, bruised, a little bloody here and there, we are still upright! Lovelies, we are still standing! So while we pause here in this field, catching our breath, it’s time to stand still… and wait.

Wait on the LORD. For in the waiting is our Hope. Remember, though the battle is real it is not ours. The battle is the LORD’s! He will fight this battle, whether He has us run headlong at the enemy, or whether He has us stand and wait. HE will fight for us and He will win the battle, therefore making us more than victorious over whatever situation we find ourselves in. Whether we caused ourselves to be put into the situation, or whether someone else threw us into it, GOD fights our battles and wins for us. And like I said, we come out victorious as well.

No matter what you’re going through today, look to the LORD for your refuge. Stand in the field of hope knowing the battle is already won and…


Wait.


Be Blessed,
Shelley



Shelley Wilburn is the author of Walking Healed and the Walking Healed Companion Bible study. You can find these books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Shelley also loves to hear from her readers. You can connect with Shelley through various social media, available at the links in the right margin, or email her at shelley@shelleywilburn.org.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Turn It Over

There are days when it seems as if everything and everyone is against you. I know. I’ve been there. Things were going along quite nicely and then BOOM! The bottom dropped out and we were left wondering what just happened?!

Maybe it seems as if you just can’t catch a break. Finances bottomed out. Businesses went belly up. Health went down the drain. Relationships hit rock bottom. That may be when you find yourself at the end of your rope. With all these clichés it would be easy to say, “Tie a knot and hang on.” But I won’t do that.

Instead, I want to encourage you to let go of the rope. Let go! Why tie a knot in a rope that has you hanging on to things that are causing you distress, depression, anxiety, hurts, and so many other negative things? Let them go and allow God to catch you.

We can talk all day about this that and the other but when it comes right down to it, we are on the verge of a mighty move of God. When things around you are going to hell in a handbasket, you can bet your sweet bippy (what is a bippy anyway?) that God is getting ready to move and the enemy (the devil) is fearful of what might happen if you actually trust God to move you into that miracle.

Does the enemy know what’s getting ready to happen to you? I don’t think so. He just knows God loves you and wants to elevate you, prosper you, give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11) so he’s going to do everything he can to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) your happiness, health, family, business, finances and whatever else he can convince  you to let him take from you.

The difference between coming out victorious or defeated is one thing: YOU. Your mindset during times of difficulties will determine your outcome. God has already declared you more than victorious, through Jesus (Romans 8:37). The question is do you believe it? Do you accept what God says, or do you believe the lies of the devil?

Oh, you may be saying right now, “You don’t know what I’m going through.” Nope. I sure don’t. But you know what? You don’t know what I’m going through either. I choose to believe the Word of God. I choose to believe His Truth. I choose to walk in that and to put my foot on the neck of the enemy and declare my authority over him. I’m ready to stand firm and to declare, “NO! You will not defeat me, devil because Jesus defeated you and when He did, He gave me authority over you, too! So back off!”

"A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power." ~Ephesians 6:10 (NLT)

Yes, I understand your battle. I also understand mine. One thing after another has come at my family and me, but where some choose to worry and fret, I’m choosing to stand on God’s Word and believe what He has said. Am I worried? No. Concerned? Yes. There’s a difference. Do I know what’s going to happen? No. Does it matter? No. What I do know is that God is sovereign, He is Creator, Master, Covenant Maker and keeper, LORD over all, He is Adonai, Elohim, Yahweh, and He is my Lord and Savior. Knowing all that is enough to sustain me and keep me high enough out of the waves that I will survive this.

Besides, the battle is His, not mine. Not yours. Therefore let me encourage you today to stand firm, too. God’s got this. He always has had. He’s not worried about your problem. He’s not worried about mine. He’s just patiently waiting for us to take our hands off it and hand it to Him.

I’m turning mine over. Will you?

The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”         ~Psalm 91:14-16 (NLT)

Blessings!
Shelley

Monday, May 15, 2017

Even Through a Flood

It’s hard to believe that just two weeks ago our home looked like lake property. Not lake front, where we overlook the lake, but in the lake!

Being dislocated can mean many things to many people. But for those whose homes were nearly destroyed by flood waters or any natural disaster, it means everything you’ve worked for now lies in shambles.

But there is a bright side!

God’s Word says weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. There is a season for everything; a time to mourn and a time to dance. God works everything together for good to those who love Him. He wants to give us beauty for our ashes and He will give us double portion for our troubles.*

Maybe that seems cliché to some, especially if you’ve had a tremendous loss. But it’s true, regardless of the depth of that loss.

God promises He will never leave us nor forsake us. That means He is where we are, goes through it with us and He never turns His back on us. Of course, while we were standing, watching the flood waters rise inside our home, it sure makes one wonder… BUT… like He promised, He stood there with me as I watched water seep in under my door and from under the walls. He was there with me as the tears streamed down my cheeks. He was there when I prayed and rebuked the rain, the water, and declared “no weapon formed against us shall prosper!”

I didn’t have to ask, “God, where are you? My home is flooding!” No. I never had to remind Him of what was happening to me. I knew where He was and that He also knew what was going on because I could feel His presence. It was so powerful. I felt as if I was cocooned like a newborn wrapped in a swaddling blanket.

Today as I was walking back from the barn, which is currently where my bathroom is, I stopped and marveled at the view. There before me stood my home. In tact. Dry. Yet something else I saw was God’s promise. He never left me. He never abandoned me. He didn’t allow my home to be destroyed, not entirely. Instead, He provided a way for things to be repaired and made better.

My husband and son are partners in business. They are master carpenters. Jesus understands that. He too is a carpenter. So, although half my home flooded – we lost half the house, I still had the rest of my home. I still had the foundation. I still had the walls. I can still live in the half that didn’t flood while the other half is being repaired. God is providing ways for us to reconstruct and He is making it better than it was before.

That’s what He does. He takes our old shell and makes the contents new again. That’s how it is when we accept Jesus into our hearts. He takes our hearts of stone, our black, ugly, issues and sins, and He gives us a new heart, a new beginning, a new life; one that is better than the one before.

Because my house had a good foundation, the walls stood. Part of those walls did need replaced, but it was easily fixed by the master carpenters. Because of our spiritual foundation, our spiritual bodies also stood. Nothing was destroyed. We were rocked to our core, but we withstood and our sorrow over our home, our sorrow over the attack on our very lives is being fixed by the Master Carpenter.

My house may have got flooded, but it’s going to be okay. My husband and I are fine, we have each other. All my kids are safe; all my grandkids are safe and we are together. Everything else is material and can be replaced.

We have come through the waters and didn’t drown. We walked through the fires of a trial that could cause anyone to break, yet we didn’t. We just bent, but have begun to stand back up... even through a flood. We will be just fine. My house… well eventually it will be fine, too.

Besides… I was wanting a new bathroom.


Be Blessed!

Shelley

*For a list of the Scriptures referenced in this post, send an email to shelley@shelleywilburn.org with your request.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Stop It Already

I recently talked to a woman who was telling me about a friend of hers who is struggling with bi-polar. As we stood chatting for a while, she asked me if she could purchase my Walking Healed books for her friend, "because she really needs this." 

Now, I'm not opposed to people buying books for friends who are struggling. I was once struggling myself. I’ve read many books on how to get over various things. I'm also not plugging for sales for my books (although it's really nice when people buy them). However, as one who is recovering from severe depression and anxiety, I also know what it feels like when your friends and family buy you books, place them in your lap and say, "Here. You really need to read this. It'll help you."

I totally get that. I really do. I know you mean well. But just let me talk to all the friends and family out there for a minute who want to help the one they love. Stop it! Stop trying to help. Stop buying the latest self-help book. Stop making the doctor or counselor appointments. Stop suggesting the medications. Stop it already. God bless your efforts, truly. But you are becoming part of the problem instead of the solution. Trust me. Even those of you who are silent, not talking about it because you're afraid you might push 'em over the edge are making it worse.

So what are you supposed to do?

Love them. Love them in their up times. Love them in their down times. Don't be afraid to talk to them, but talk to them like you do everyone else. Don't walk on eggshells around them. And please, whatever you do, don't look at them or treat them with pity, derision, mockery, insults or jokes, or even the statement, “Well, it runs in the family.” 

Be a real person. Be who you are. Let them be who they are. Granted, there are times when you will, or do have to step in and intervene. But use common sense. Use discretion. Use your head and heart, not your mouth.

What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? ~James 2:14-16, NLT

I’m also not saying to baby them either, because that only enables them to stay in their disorder.
Maybe that sounds cliché or like I’m making a double standard. I’m not. Why not say, "Hey, I know this is tough. Let me walk with you." Maybe they'll be receptive, maybe they won't. Regardless, you've put yourself out there and let them know you care, you understand, you're not condemning them. You're loving them where they're at.

Ask them, “How are things today?” or “How are you today?” They may answer vaguely, “Oh, it’s a day.” They may be afraid to divulge information. They may be too embarrassed to give a truthful answer. So, be observant. Test the waters. Ask simple questions that will allow them to answer or not answer; “Is something bothering you today?” or “Can I help you work through anything?” They may answer with the standard, “Fine,” to which you can ask, “Are you really?” But don’t ask in condemnation or ridicule. Be sincere.

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. ~Romans 8:1-2, NLT

There were many times, when I was suffering in depression, I just wished someone would listen without jumping to conclusions or giving advice. I learned really quick not to open up with information about my feelings because people read too much into what I was saying and were not listening to my heart, which was breaking. My feelings and emotions were all over the place, so I couldn’t really express my true self. Therefore I was misunderstood too many times, judged, condemned and even lost friends.

I thank God every day that He healed me. I no longer have these issues, but I also have empathy for people who do. It’s not fun dealing with anxiety, depression, or taking the medications to help with those things. It’s also not fun dealing with well-meaning people who think they’re helping when they’re only making the issues worse. But the most heartbreaking is losing friends because they jumped to conclusions about you and didn’t listen to your heart.

One of the most important things you can be is a good listener. Don’t offer advice. Don’t offer solutions. Just listen. Lend a shoulder to cry on. Be a taxi if you need to be. Be available to answer your phone even in the middle of the night. And if you think a certain book would help your friend, then buy two and offer to read them together. Then be available to discuss what you've read. But don't leave them to figure things out on their own.

See the real person inside that depression, that anxiety, that bi-polar. Look beyond the issue to the beautiful heart and mind that is struggling to get out of that black hole. Throw them a lifeline. Even if they can’t seem to get out of the pit just yet, at least they can hold onto the line until they’re strong enough to come out into the open. Above all, pray for those you care about. Intercede for them. God knows. He hears. And He will answer.

In my distress I prayed to the LORD, and the LORD answered me and set me free. ~Psalm 118:5, NLT

Blessings!

Shelley


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