Monday, December 29, 2014

Year End Book Reviews

Shelley Wilburn
I love reading. A story that can keep my attention, affect my emotions, and make me believe the characters are my friends is a keeper in my book (no pun intended). I also love to be able to write about the books I read. That's why I'm so excited to be writing this today because the books I'm writing about are jam packed with many such stories.

I don't normally write reviews of more than one book at a time. But since we're almost to the end of 2014, I wanted to write a snippet about all of them to get interest flowing. They're all beautifully written books. In addition, nearly all of them are written by many of my writer friends making the stories precious treasures.

Christmas Treasures

One of the books I was so blessed to read is aptly named Christmas Treasures, A Collection of Christmas Short Stories. It is a Christmas anthology of short stories that fourteen different authors contributed their talents to, to come up with a wonderful collection of inspiring holiday stories.

Of course, if you're anything like me Christmas isn't the only time to read Christmas-themed stories. I love reading them all year round. Any time you can read about faith, hope and love, whether old, new, hoped for, fought for, or otherwise is inspiring.

Take for instance, Linda Glaz's story, Part-Time Job. Gwyneth can't bring herself to tell her daughter Isabella that her daddy wouldn't be coming home for Christmas. She couldn't tell her that he had gone missing, taken from the civilian barracks in Afghanistan in the night. Who knows whether he was even still alive?

Brady couldn't bring himself to appear on his own doorstep in his condition. Why would his family only want half a husband, half a daddy back? Now that he limped and only had one arm, after a horrific accident, how could he even be the man they once knew? He decided to get a part-time job away from them, then later on send divorce papers to Gwyneth.

Of course things take a different turn when Brady's part-time Santa job lands him in the department store where his mother-in-law has brought his daughter to see Santa. What will happen if Gwyneth discovers it's really her missing husband underneath that Santa suit? Will she still love him? Will she still accept him? Will Brady be able to be a husband and daddy again?

Stories like this and more are what you will find in Christmas Treasures. You will be kept on your toes, your heart will beat with anticipation, you will wonder whether or not love will win in the end, and quite possibly you'll experience all of the above. Each short story is beautifully written. Some have historical settings while others are set in modern day. Each story is also love and faith inspired. Some are with a twist of humor, all are with a sweet presence of God woven into the lives of the characters.

Find Christmas Treasures at the following link:
http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Treasures-Collection-Short-Stories-ebook/dp/B00PKLJQ2M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1419887365&sr=8-1&keywords=Christmas+Treasures

Christmas Treasures features the talents of Patty Wysong, Joanne Sher, Linda Glaz, Karla Akins, Elaine Stock, Christina Rich, Karen Wingate, Karen Campbell Prough, Donna Hubbard Scofield, Karlene Jacobsen, Kathleen Rouser, April Straugh, Anne Garboczi Evans, and Susan F. Craft. The book is a wonderful collection of stories that anyone will enjoy.



The Festive Bride

The Festive Bride is another wonderful book I had the privilege of reading. Written by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, this lovely book is Book Nine of a series called The 12 Brides of Christmas. Not to worry though, even though this book is ninth in a series, each book is it's own story, written by a different author and can be read individually without the worry of missing out on a story line.

The Festive Bride is set in Southern Illinois in 1886. I loved that since I'm from Southern Illinois and it was fun imagining my area in that era. Of course, watching the lives of Roy Gibbons, his two young daughters, and Alma Pickens unfold was interesting and entertaining. Being that Roy is a widow and Alma has never been married, yet they find themselves attracted to one another, I wondered how these two would find love. Or would they even find it at all?

In the Festive Bride, Alma's father makes a marriage deal with Roy to marry his daughter Alma. Shocked that her father would arrange her own marriage, Alma puts some stipulations on the deal including courtship and a holiday wedding, that Roy must fulfill before the wedding. Will Roy be able to accomplish them before the wedding date? Will Alma learn to love Roy, or better yet, will she be able to love and accept Roy's two very young daughters? Will she be able to be a mother to them? Alma wasn't even sure whether Roy shared her belief in God. Would he be able to measure up?

After some mishaps and misunderstandings, along with a couple of humorous antics, I wondered if Roy would be able to convince Alma that marrying him would benefit them all. But I also wondered whether or not Alma and Roy would be able to fall in love within the short amount of time they were given before their Christmas wedding date.

With the help of two very rambunctious little girls and the magical blessings of Christmas, the Festive Bride is a wonderful Christmas love story of the combining of a family. It's just how God would work a miracle for a lonely widower who is afraid to love again, two little girls who need a mommy, and one spinster who desperately wants to marry and have a family.

Diana did a wonderful job of weaving this story. The Festive Bride is one you'll want in your collection. I truly enjoyed reading it.

You can find it on Amazon at the following link:http://www.amazon.com/Festive-Bride-Brides-Christmas-Book-ebook/dp/B00NVZW7N4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1419893254&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Festive+Bride





Raspberry Kisses

Raspberry Kisses by Cecelia Dowdy caught my attention when I read the sample of a chapter on Amazon. I bought the eBook and decided I would give it a try. I'm usually hesitant about reading an author I'm not familiar with. However, I also love to support authors which led me to pick up and read this scrumptious book.

Raspberry Kisses is Book One in The Bakery Romace Series. In this book, Rhea's bakery is failing. Since losing her pastor husband a couple years ago, Rhea opened the bakery to fulfill her dream of owning her own business. Along with sales going downhill, she's also about to lose her apartment because of the misdealings of her sleazy landlord. Trying to figure out what to do, Rhea's overdramatic, unstable, identical twin sister Raven offers to step in and loan her the money to pay her rent and get her out of some debt. Except the loan comes with a stipulation; the only way Rhea will get the loan, she must attend a Christian Single's Retreat to spy on Raven's love interest to find out why the man won't return Raven's calls. Rhea's sister is blackmailing her.

Martin Lane is an associate pastor in his father's church, trying to finish his seminary degree while also leading a ministry of feeding the homeless. He is also seated to take over the senior pastor position when his father retires. However, a very stubborn member of their church has taken it upon herself to ruin Martin before he can even begin. Not only that, but his sister has scheduled him to be one of the speakers at the Christian Single's Retreat.

When Rhea and Martin meet it's attraction from the beginning. Martin at first mistakes Rhea for her twin sister, but is quickly corrected when Rhea explains. Rhea doesn't want another relationship with a pastor after tragically losing her pastor husband. She also doesn't want to hurt her sister. She needs that loan money. Martin has never been interested in Rhea's sister and must tell her. But he also has secrets that not even his own family knows about. Can they both move beyond their issues to find love?

When Martin offers to help Rhea make her bakery a success she's reluctant, but finds Martin's ideas worth listening to. Can she look past him being a pastor? Martin is falling for Rhea, but can he trust her with his deepest secret? Can he get Rhea to fall in love with him. Will he even get the senior pastor position at his father's church? What will happen when Rhea's twin sister finds out they are attracted to each other?

Raspberry Kisses is a very busy love story. With twists and turns on every page, will Martin reveal his secret past? Will Rhea get over her late husband and be able to move on? Will her bakery succeed? Many questions will be answered in this scrumptious story.

Find Raspberry Kisses at the following link:http://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Kisses-Bakery-Romance-Book-ebook/dp/B00P7TZM8E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1419893346&sr=8-1&keywords=Raspberry+Kisses

Follow the links given in each review for Christmas Treasures, The Festive Bride, and Raspberry Kisses. Trust me when I say that you won't regret reading any of them. They're well written and very affordable. They are a definite must have for your collection.

I'll be reading and writing reviews throughout 2015. Be on the lookout for them and remember, always support an author!








Friday, December 5, 2014

It Ends Here

There's an old cliche` that goes, "The buck stops here." I'm not quite sure if the buck is a deer or a dollar. Whatever it is, it stops here. Right here in this spot, the buck stops. For me, the proverbial buck was the mental and emotional abuse that I suffered for way too long. All the depression, intimidation, and past hurtful words spoken over me throughout my life stopped the night God healed me.

To be quite honest, I think the Yield sign had been put out a week earlier when I made the decision that I wasn't going to go through any of that anymore and decided I wanted my mind healed. Though I made the decision, the healing didn't happen until I actually walked to the front of my church and requested prayer and healing and admitted what I wanted healed from. That's when it ended right then and there.

Many people suffer depression and intimidation. They deal with anxiety, panic disorder, fear, and many other things associated with emotional and mental issues. It doesn't mean that they are crazy. It just means that somewhere in their lives they were verbally abused by someone, or several someone's and it affected them strongly.

It may have started when you were a child. A parent, grandparent, teacher, or someone you knew said something to you that was hurtful. Many people use cutting remarks and pass them off as jokes. It might be funny to them, it may be funny to you the first time. But when it continues over time, and when it is used to control you, it's no longer funny or a joke. It's abuse. Whether it was an insult, a cutting remark, a derogatory statement, something that belittled you or made you feel uncomfortable or less than, the words of those we love can and do cause lifelong damage. I know. I lived it.

You don't have to live with it any longer. It ends here. By making the decision to stop the abuse in general and from continuing, you are taking steps to make your life better. But you have to make the decision. For me, I had no idea how to make it stop. I didn't know how to make people stop saying things to me. I also didn't know how to make the words in my head stop. I knew that God wanted to heal me, yet I didn't know how to ask Him.  However, I knew enough to go to prayer warriors at church for help.

 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. ~James 5:14 (NLT)

Getting to the point where you know that you can't continue in the suffering is a big step. Going to someone who you know can help you is life-changing. God wants to heal you. He's simply waiting for you to decide and take the first step. Once healed, you can begin a new life and can also help someone else find the healing you did.

Since being healed, I now stand at the front of my church each week and offer to pray for others. I love to help people find hope and healing from whatever it is making them suffer.

You can decide today that no matter what has been spoken over you, for however long it's been spoken, the intimidation, verbal abuse, insults, doctor's reports, test results, all of it ends here. It's up to you. 









Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Purpose of it All

I've found myself in a quandary lately. It's easy to do. When we get so focused on the busyness of the holidays we can often forget the reason we have them in the first place. No one is immune and it's easy to get so busy that we forget to be thankful to God for the blessings He gives us. Then we forget to celebrate the real Reason we have the Christmas season. If Jesus hadn't been born, we wouldn't be celebrating Christmas at all. What purpose then, would we have for living? And there is the quandary.

A sweet friend was recently having difficulty knowing what her purpose is. I think we all have that issue at some point in our lives. Often, it's as plain as can be but we just aren't ready to step into it. We all have a purpose. Before God created even time, He was already thinking about each one of us individually and He had a plan and purpose for us. 

The beauty of our purpose is that each one is different, yet each one is the same; all at the same time. Maybe that sounds confusing, but let me put it another way. We all have an anointing, a calling, on our lives. Mine is to write and encourage others with the healing story God gave me. It's a gift. Someone else may have the gift of healing, or praying for people. So how are they tied together? Both my gift, my anointing and calling, and yours are to be used to help others come to know Jesus and to bring glory to Him! Different, yet the same.

The purpose of it all is to point people to Jesus. I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for Him. Granted, I had to go through a lot of mud and muck, but eventually it all worked together for the good that you see now. So how did I get in a quandary? I allowed the devil to attack me.

When God calls us to use our gifts and walk out our purpose, we are on a road that leads to what God has destined  us to become. The enemy knows what we could be and that scares him. So, he takes it upon himself to sabotage us any way he can. That includes causing us to doubt ourselves. If he can cause us to slow down, slip up, or turn back, then he's thrown a kink in God's Divine plan for our lives.

But God is greater, smarter, and more powerful than the enemy! Don't for one moment think that if we slow down, slip up, or turn back that the enemy won. Because the enemy never wins! He's already lost. The greatest thing about the purpose of it all is that we are victors. We have already won. We are more than conquerors. We can't lose. Because even when the enemy thinks we've lost the battle, even when other people think we've lost the battle, we have really won!

We win because Jesus won! So whether we make mistakes (which we will) or not, God has a plan and purpose for it all. How far will God go to bring His plan into reality? How far will God go to show the purpose of it all? Oh I don't know, maybe being born in a lowly manger. Maybe on a cross on a hill where Jesus died for the sins of humanity. Maybe an empty tomb where He rose from the dead and walked out three days after being laid to rest. Or maybe coming back like He promised, to bring all His kids home where they belong. 

The purpose of it all is that we all have a purpose. We aren't just here by accident. We have a job to do. Our purpose is to use whatever means we have been given, whatever special abilities we have been gifted with, to tell others about Jesus.

If He can save me, He can save you. If He can heal me, He most certainly can heal you. If He loves me, He definitely loves you. You are important to Him and you most definitely have a purpose. 


Saturday, November 15, 2014

God Dots

©raisingourkids.com
Remember those little follow the dots puzzles we used to do in grade school? Maybe I'm dating myself here, but I loved those! I called them "dot-to-dot" pictures. Follow the dots, beginning at number one, and when you get to the end, you have a picture! Well, I believe that God does the same thing with us. He gives us little dots here and there, to get our attention, connecting the dots as He goes.

Just exactly how far will God go to get our attention or better yet, to work everything together for our good? I used to wonder that myself. When I was in the most hopeless time of my life, I wondered how in the world God was going to make something good of the depression that just wouldn't seem to leave me alone.

I often wondered, while feeling the worst anxiety attack welling up from deep within me, knowing I was powerless to stop it. I wondered just how God was going to use this for good. Then I would sigh as the panic eased off and lessened, thanking Him for letting it go away.

But the night I was healed and launched into the ministry of telling my story so others could be encouraged, I looked back and saw all the dots that God had been connecting throughout the years, creating a beautiful dot-to-dot picture!

God Dots... those little encounters, little pieces of our lives, people, places, and things, that God brings into and out of our every day. Each one of those things is one more dot that God uses to build our testimony, our story, our ministry.

God places people in our lives to steer us toward our destiny, to help us to grow and learn and to build our character so that when we encounter someone else who is hurting, we can help build them up.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. ~Genesis 50:20, NLT

Of all the intimidation, depression, anxiety, and other things I went through over the years, God was teaching me and giving me someone to look back on so that when I met another who suffered those things, I could say, "Hey, I understand that. I used to deal with that too. Let me tell you what God did for me."

It's not bragging on oneself to tell someone else how God has worked in your life. It's not being arrogant to tell another how God healed you. On the contrary, it's bragging on God! It's bringing Him glory and ministering to another who's suffering. 

The whole point of my ministry is to bring glory to God; to make Jesus famous. Because without Him, I wouldn't BE healed! However, I would not be where I am today without many other people and situations throughout my life. To list everything would take too long, but suffice it to say that each little and big thing that I have gone through were the God Dots that led me to this point in time. 

Look around you. Can you see your God Dots? Can you see the littlest of things that God has placed in your life that has led to the greatest things? You may not have thought that something bad in your life could have ended up being something good, but let me tell you this: What the enemy meant for harm, God turned it into good, or He's just about to! He's groovy like that. Because God doesn't give us the bad things in our lives, the enemy does. But God is so much bigger than the enemy and He can fix everything!

If you're going through a rough spell, don't fret! Look at it and know that it's going to be just another God Dot. Follow it backwards and look at all the other God Dots that it's connected to and get excited, because the next dot will bring you closer to something utterly amazing!

Be thankful for your God Dots!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank You, Veterans!

Being Veteran's Day, we honor those who have served in our military armed forces throughout the years and currently. We think of those who have gone before during whatever war, action, skirmish, or whatever we're calling it now. We pass by service men and women on a daily basis, some we thank, others we have no idea that they even served.

I recently had the privilege of sitting next to a young veteran on my train ride from Louisiana back to Illinois. Although he wasn't going very far, the time we did have on this train ride provided enough information into the life of this young man that I have an even bigger respect for those who serve in our military.

I can't imagine what happens to those who serve during times of war or combat. Frankly, I don't want to know. But whatever it is that they see or experience is enough to alter them for the rest of their lives. My companion on this train ride was retired Air Force, just back in the States from Japan. He served in the military for three-and-a-half years. He was twenty-six. His name was Nick.

Our veterans have given much more than just their time and skills to protect us and those we love. Our freedom is not free. Someone had to pay for that. Many someone's did. Our veterans. They have given their very lives, both mentally, emotionally, and physically for our freedom. Veterans throughout the years have been giving to continue our freedom. It's a gift that is continually being paid for in some form or another.

In the short amount of time I had with the young man who sat with me on the train, listening to him talk, however inconspicuously, about things he experienced and in general made me realize that this is exactly how my grandfather's both acted. They would talk to us, but there was always something else they weren't saying that lay just under the surface. They would speak in innuendos and in a roundabout way, never giving complete information. Just hints. It left lots to the imagination. They were young when they served in WWII but their memories stayed with them their entire lives. Just as this young man's would with him.

Whenever you meet a veteran, say thank you. They will act uncomfortable because to them, they don't see how what they did was helpful. Still, tell them thank you. Buy their meal. Buy their coffee or soda. Because without their service, we would not enjoy the freedoms that we enjoy right now. And above all else, respect their quirks. They are not weird. They are just trying to live; live with the memories of the things they have seen and experienced that we didn't have to.

It kind of puts it into perspective when you look at it like that. I know that it breaks my heart and increases my level of compassion for our veterans. They have so much to deal with that we will never know about.







Veterans Day. A day of remembrance. A day to say thank you. So with that, Thank you Grandpa Johnny, Grandpa Roy, Boots, Butch, Mark, Chaz, Mr. Mosley, Nick, Ravyn and Johan, Brian, Andrea, Steve, and every military veteran we have. Your service is greatly appreciated and respected.










Thursday, October 16, 2014

Changing Your Life

There many people, even friends of mine, who have been or are suffering with anxiety and depression. It breaks my heart, especially when I hear them say, "It runs in my family," or "I just deal with it and battle it every day, hoping for the best."

I can totally identify with this, which is why it hurts my heart so much for them. Because, I suffered in silence with this very thing for over forty years. 

Anxiety, depression, panic attacks, low self-esteem, no self-worth, oppression, and intimidation were among my constant companions. I didn't like any of them, yet it seemed as if everywhere I went, they followed me. Many times they would embarrass me so badly that I had to leave whatever place I was at, while ridicule and insults from others followed me out the door, oftentimes calling me on the phone to continue the diatribe.

I thought this was just how life was meant to be. I honestly thought that the hopeless feelings I had were just life. It ran in the family, so why wouldn't I have it? My grandmother and mother had depression, I heard them talk openly about it my whole childhood. They spoke it over me continually, "Just wait till you get older. This is what you have to look forward to. It runs in the family."


    Better a dry crust eaten in peace than a house filled with feasting—and conflict. ~Proverbs 17:1
People with depression and anxiety suffer. But they also cause those around them to suffer too, whether they mean to or not. In my family, those who were suffering weren't content unless everyone else was upset and anxious as well. And while there was medication for this problem, no one ever told any of us that God was not the author of our misery. Yet, I know that I often questioned Him as to why He allowed me to have this malady.

God did not give any of us depression, anxiety, or any other emotional or mental disorder. However, sometimes He does allow us to go through these things. Why? The answer is not always readily available. But one thing I do know is that though we suffer through the "black hole" or the "pit," God is always using this to move us forward into the calling He has for our lives.

It was two years ago that He literally healed me from the inside out, from the bottoms of my feet to the top of my head, and ripped all that junk right out of me! Yes! You can be healed from depression, panic, anxiety, oppression, and all the above mentioned things. God has a purpose for you, dear lovelies. He loves you most dearly, is crazy about you, and He does have a use and purpose for your life.


The LORD will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me. ~Psalm 138:8 

You are not hopeless. You are not a mistake. Your circumstances are not fixed or resigned to "it runs in the family." It is time to lift your head and take a stand. Receive the healing of God over your mind, your emotions, your body, and all aspects of your life! Walk out your healing. Just because something "runs in the family" doesn't mean that it continues with you. Break the cycle. Break the chains. Don't let your history destroy your destiny!


I cry out to God Most High,* to God who will fulfill his purpose for me. He will send help from heaven to rescue me, disgracing those who hound me. My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness. ~Psalm 57:2-3

I'm not saying flush all your medications.* I'm also not saying that medicine is bad, because you may just need that for a while. Find a good, Christian counselor. That's not so bad, either and they may help you work out your healing. But also remember that God is the Great Physician, the Healer, and the name of Jesus is above all other names...including depression!

However, if you feel you would benefit from counseling, but it is something you think you just can't afford, or if you're uncomfortable talking face-to-face with a counselor, you might try online counseling. There is a counseling service called Better Help which offers a wide range of affordable, trustworthy counseling services. You can find them at https://www.betterhelp.com/start

Thank God for healing you today! Read His Word on healing. Speak it over your life today and every day. If you don't know where to find healing Scriptures, email me at shelley@shelleywilburn.org and I will send you a list. Trust me. They are very powerful. God's Word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11). Don't spend one more minute suffering anxiety! Read the healing prayer below and begin a new, healed life!


In the name of Jesus I bind depression, anxiety, panic, oppression, and every other malady associated with these things, and I cast them into the depths of the sea, never to return. I loose the Holy Spirit into my life to fill the holes left by these things. I release peace, a sound mind, calmness, and peace of mind. I take captive every thought. I thank You Lord for healing me, and I receive that and walk in it. No weapon formed against me shall prosper, and every tongue that rises against me shall fall. I do not have a spirit of fear. I have power, love, and a sound mind. I am the head and not the tail. I am more than a conqueror through Christ Who loves me, and I can do all things through the strength that He gives me. Thank you Lord for hearing me. I claim all Your promises, in Jesus' name, Amen and AMEN!

If that's you today, please email me. I'll be happy to pray for you, and send you more information on healing! You CAN change your life and live healed!




*NOTE* 
I am not an advocate of discontinuing medication for depression or anxiety cold turkey. Please seek medical advice, and above all pray first before doing anything. If you need more help, please call someone.

Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Pr 17:1). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ps 57:2–3). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ps 138:8). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Let "It" Go

Sometimes you just have to let it go. "It" can be anything; anger, sadness, a grudge, jealousy, envy, past hurts, painful words, intimidation, ugly thoughts and notions, a bad relationship or friendship, a fear, or a bad doctor's report. It can be anything especially if "It" holds you back from a relationship with Jesus.

"It" can get in the way of moving forward with the Lord. "It" can also keep you from living the life God designed for you. Sometimes you can let go of one "It" and another one will present itself to take "It's" place. 

I know this from experience. I lived with several "It's" for too many years. When God healed me, I let "It" go... but another "It" presented itself. Then another. Then another. I battled them for a while and kept the "It's" at bay. But once when I wasn't looking, another "It" crept in and attached itself to me. I carried "It" around with me for a while, all the time convincing myself that I was doing the right thing. All along determined that I was right.

text only ©shelleywilburn.org
My biggest "It" was a fear that latched itself to me over twenty years ago, when my mother was diagnosed with stomach cancer. I was promptly told that "It" (cancer) runs in the family. I didn't want this "It." So I avoided it, ran from it, ignored it, and all those other things to prevent me from having to face the "It." But "It" hit me square in the face one afternoon and I could no longer avoid "It."

I was called to come back in for a second scan after a recent mammogram. Something didn't look right, so they wanted to take another look. I made the appointment for the following week. However, I did not receive the information. In the name of Jesus, I stood on every promise that He made to me. Ultimately, everything turned out "perfectly normal" and there was "absolutely nothing there." My faith had been shaken, but instead of hiding in fear, I stood boldly claiming the promises God made to me.

Letting your "It" go doesn't mean that you don't feel fear. It also doesn't mean that you get a good report from the doctor. It just means that you change your focus from the "It" to the One Who is in control of all things. Regardless.

I don't know why I went through what I did, other than to increase my relationship and trust with the Lord. Or maybe so that I could have an understanding for women who are facing this very thing right now.

I do know this; the "It" that I was convinced was chasing me for the last twenty years has not been chasing me. I've been supposed to be chasing IT! Sword drawn, rebuking, and casting IT OUT... In Jesus' name!

It's time to let "It" go and reclaim your life back! And if you're afraid well, just do it afraid! The battle is already won! Jesus took care of your "It."



Saturday, August 30, 2014

Don't Let Your Engine Idle

I woke up this morning with a statement on my mind. At first, I was a bit confused about what it meant. I thought I was supposed to write about not being idle, about how important it is that we stay focused on Christ, read His Word, and not let ourselves become drawn into the drama of other people’s lives. Before long, a Scripture came to mind and I thought I had it all together, so I went to the computer to start writing, as I told the Lord, “I’m up. I’m going.”

But when I got to the computer, the words were forced and stilted. I couldn’t figure out why things were not progressing the way they should. That’s when I realized that the message that woke me up wasn’t exactly for everyone else in particular. It was for me. The message was…

Don’t let your engine idle.

Sounds cryptic, doesn’t it? It isn’t. Not really. Because when you put the following verse with it, it makes all the sense in the world;

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. ~Joshua 1:8, NKJV

Basically, open your Bible and read! Listen. Do what it says. Stay focused on the Lord because He knows which direction you need to go.


I like how The Message puts it; “And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed.”

Idleness causes problems in so many ways; mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and even physically. It allows the enemy to plant ridiculous notions in you and when they begin to grow, disaster follows.

Why do you think people jump to conclusions, believe gossip, suffer depression, anxiety, have low self-esteem, have anger, discontent, jealousy, or feel hopeless? Maybe you’re thinking right now, that’s just fine for you but you don’t know what it feels like! Oh yes, dear one, I do! I know the feelings I just mentioned because I lived them for far too long! I know how it feels to suffer. I know how it feels to get out. I also know how it feels to be attacked and feel the pull of the things I was healed from trying to weigh me back down! It’s not fun.

But let me tell you this; I also know how it feels to have Someone come to your rescue! I know how it feels to realize that my trials and attacks were the result of the enemy in his jealous rage against me, knowing that I was being moved up and into the destiny God has for me. The enemy doesn’t want to see me succeed, so he begins attacking with every trick he can muster (1 Peter 5:8), as I get closer and closer to the next level, the next phase in my purpose. And if I have become idle in my walk, in my perseverance, then it’s all so much easier for the enemy to attack! This is why I woke up with the message, “Don’t let your engine idle” in my mind, quickly followed by Joshua 1:8.


Today let my message become yours. Don’t let your engines idle dear lovelies! The enemy of your soul wants to throw a monkey wrench in your gears. Stay alert and watch out for attacks. But also know that when the attacks come, you’re getting close to a new blessing from God! So be persistent and stay focused…

Resist the devil and he will flee from you. ~James 4:7

...and never give up!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Popping the Bubble

There are times when I feel as if I just go through life completely clueless! Everyone around me seems to "get it" yet I'm left standing, wondering, what "It" is! I wonder if God is really hearing my prayers. I wonder why I can't feel Him. I wonder why it seems as if everyone around me does. And then I wonder why I seem to be hitting a brick wall. That's about the time the brick wall hits me.

Ever have those "Duh!" moments? Those moments when it all falls into place and the light bulb clicks on and all of a sudden, you get it. I mean, you really truly GET IT! We often get into a rut in our walk with God. We get comfy and cozy in that warm, fuzzy place and decide, yeah I like it here just fine. Then we begin to go through the everyday bump and grind of living in a continuous bubble. Because face it, in that little bubble we don't have to change. We can keep things just the way they are because we like it here. Things can stay the way they always were and we can never have any trials.

http://jimtsutsui.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/bubble_burst.jpg
POP!

God knocks us right out of that little bubble and into reality and we are left wondering, what just happened? We weren't meant to live in a bubble. We were meant to play outside and get dirty. We were meant to interact with others, even when they don't look, dress, act, or smell like us. We were meant to live that mystery that we so often place God in. "God is so mysterious! He's hard to get to know. He works in mysterious ways that we don't understand." Nonsense!

Yes, God is mysterious! But He gave us a way to know Him! He gave us Jesus. He gave us a Helper in the Holy Spirit, Who intercedes for us when we pray. I mean, how hard is it to just get it? It's not hard. We make it such by claiming mystery, being afraid, avoidance, and just play 'ol obstinance. And in doing so, we are being disobedient.

I don't want to live that way. I want to know God and for Him to know me. I want to get out there, roll in the dirt, get dirty, sweaty, smelly, and be able to say, "Yep! God was there! He showed up in all my grit and grime and we got some stuff done.

Don't get me wrong. Even if you're not out there getting dirty, God will still meet you wherever you are. God is not going to leave you where you are though. He wants to do a wonderful work in and around you. The mystery of God is that people are afraid of the mystery. We try to figure God out when all He wants us to do is just show up and let Him use us.

He has a purpose for you. He has a plan for you. But He's not going to come in, breaking down the door, blowing the victory horn. God is subtle. God is kind. He is loving. He will kindly knock on your heart's door. But you have to get up, go to the door and open it. Then you have to invite Him in because God won't even come in without an invitation! He's a gentleman. And there lies the mystery.

People have a hard time understanding that mystery. They believe God is sitting on His throne, waiting for us to mess up so that He can "zap" us. Nothing can be further from the truth.

What are you dealing with today? Been away from God for a while? Think you've gone too far? You haven't. God still loves you and still has a plan for you. It's up to you to decide if you want to know what that is. You're out of the bubble. Are you ready to answer the door?





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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