Monday, January 27, 2014

Far Out!

Sometimes, God gives us some far out orders. Some of His promises are way out there, and well, they just seem too far out to comprehend...or believe. Don't they?

God told Abraham that his wife, Sarah, would have a baby. When Sarah heard it...she laughed! I mean, she was in her 90's, so I guess that promise really seemed far out! But then she conceived and had Isaac. (Genesis 18:1-15)

When the Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and told him that he would fight against his enemies and win, Gideon asked for a sign to be sure he heard it right! After he got the sign, he asked for another sign just to make sure (Judges 6:33-40). And when he went to battle against thousands of Midianites with only three hundred men...he WON!

The Angel of the Lord (Gabriel) appeared to Zechariah and told him that his wife, Elizabeth would conceive and have a son. Instead of belief, Zechariah questioned and was struck silent until Elizabeth delivered their son... John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-23) Pretty far out!

At the same time Elizabeth was carrying her baby, Mary was visited by Gabriel and given the message from God that she would conceive and carry God's Son, Jesus! What's so far out about that promise is that Mary was a virgin! But instead of questioning the validity of the promise, Mary just wanted to know how it was going to happen since she was a virgin. The angel was all too happy to explain it (Luke 1:26-38).

When God healed me, He gave me a promise, too. He told me through a very godly man, that I would minister to women and give them encouragement and hope. My initial thought was, "Oh God, not THEM!" But God's answer was, "Yes. Them." Women were my intimidators. Many of them were the ones who hurt me the most, who kept me in misery, who judged me the worst. Yet they are the exact ones that God sent me back into the ring to fight for (Luke 4:18-19). What a far out promise. What a far out task!

Each one of the above people received a far out promise from God...including me! And each far out promise was backed up and fulfilled. God is in the promise making/promise fulfilling business. He never breaks a promise. He never goes back on His word. And you can bet that if He told you to do something and that you will do something, it will happen!

When God healed me, I never dreamed that what I would be doing would be ministering to the very people who intimidated me the most. Yet, I am. Not only that, but I also get to meet many more women who are broken and hurting just like I was... and I am able to tell them that there is hope for them, just like there was hope for me!

What good would my healing be if I never shared it with others? What good would yours be if you never shared it? Hurting people hurt other people, it's true. But healed people help hurting people to find hope and healing through the capable hands of Jesus. This is my calling. This is what I do. I'm not a counselor, I'm just one of the called. 

And that is FAR OUT!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Get UP!

When God told Jonah to go to Nineveh...he ran. Plain and simple, he ran. Oh, that was in the opposite direction by the way. Jonah did not do what God told him to first. How often have I been guilty of that, too! Yes, just a week ago even! But thankfully, God is a God of second chances and just like Jonah, I was told A SECOND TIME to go. And this time I got up and went...though I hesitated even then!

The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.” ~Jonah 1:1, NLT

Many times we have that little hint of an idea that we need to do something important. Go see that person who has no family. Take a meal to someone who is sick. Speak up and encourage that person who just mentioned the difficulties they are having. But we hesitate. We second guess. Then ultimately, we talk ourselves out of doing what we know in our hearts that we should have done. And when that happens, instantly we feel guilt, remorse, shame.

Let me encourage you today, if you have that little "inkling" of an idea that you need to do something...GET UP! Go do it. I promise that once you do, you will feel much better. And frankly, sometimes we go with a bad attitude. Let me tell you, your attitude will not stop a move of God! God has plans and nothing or no one will get in His way. So, if He gives you a task, best to get up and go do it.

Jonah didn't get up and go. Well, he did but in the wrong direction and with a bad attitude. Before he knew it, he was in the middle of a storm at sea, then being thrown into the sea, and then being swallowed by a great big fish! Talk about having a bad day!
"Throw me into the sea,” Jonah said, “and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.” .....  Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once! The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him. Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights. ~ Jonah 1:12, 15-17, NLT
Jonah spent three days and nights in the belly of this great fish (See Jonah chapter 1). I guess he had a lot of time to think about what he didn't do. But it took him three days to figure that out. And I just wonder where the fish got its GPS coordinates, because when it spit Jonah out onto dry land, he was right where he needed to be! Where God told him to go in the first place!

Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach. ~Jonah 2:10

So, here is Jonah, alive, on dry land, and God gives him the same message a second time. So Jonah got up and went. My point is that it is very important to do what God tells you to do. Whether it is doing something, saying something, or whatever it is, it is very important that you do it.
Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.” This time Jonah obeyed the Lord’s command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all. On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow. ~Jonah 3:1-5
We were once stopped at a stop light and a couple were standing there begging for money. My husband gave them some and talked to them a bit. But I felt a strong nudge to get off the motorcycle and talk to the lady standing with her husband. And I hesitated. As we rode away, my seat got hot. I got a very strong impression that I had missed an opportunity. So as we were getting onto the highway, I motioned for my husband to get off at the next exit, which circled back around to where we came from. I made him take me back so that I could speak with that lady. The blessing I got was indescribable.

It's not about getting a blessing, but rather about being obedient to what the Holy Spirit tells you to do. I mentioned above about not doing what I was told to do even just a week ago. One would think that I would have learned by now. Do we ever really? That is why I'm so glad that God is the God of second chances, third chance, however many it takes for me to finally "get it." However, there are some who never do, and eventually God says, "Okay that's enough" and takes measures for  judgment, as He was preparing to do on Nineveh. That's why He sent Jonah, to give them one more chance. And it worked.

When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened. ~Jonah 3:10

It doesn't always go smoothly, nor does it always turn out for the good. Many times people are given the Word from God and they don't listen. They don't turn to Him. And eventually it catches up with them. By then, it's too late. Don't be one of those. When you know God has given you a message, or an order, Get UP! Go! Do what you've been commissioned to do. I guarantee that you will feel a whole lot better. And things still may not work out as you had hoped, but at least you did what God told you to do. That's all you are required to do (Ezekiel 3:16-20). Be obedient. God will take care of the rest. He promises that.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

You Want Me to SUBMIT?!

June 18, 1983..we were just kids!
People think my husband and I have a "not normal" relationship. They make fun and say things to and about us because we act silly together, we show affection toward each other, and we always support, defend, and stand by each other. And normally we do nearly everything together, but sometimes we do things apart. We have been married for over thirty years and been a couple longer than that. 

I say this because there are people today who sit and bash their spouses for one reason or another, run them in the ground, and complain because they don't get their way. I hate to see or hear this from either husband or wife...even in joking. It's not a joke. God created marriage between a man and a woman for a reason. Because it was good and so they could reproduce...and the big reason is so they could worship Him together

22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. ~Ephesians 5:22-24, NLT

Before you shut off or complain when you read, "wives submit to your husbands" LISTEN to what God is saying! He means that you are to RESPECT your husband...BUT...He also says that husbands are supposed to LOVE their wives as they do the LORD! In Ephesians 5:22-33 it explains it very, very clearly. 

I have taught women's Sunday school classes before and listened to the women run their husbands in the ground because their view of marriage was distorted. Do you want a good marriage? Then you have to WORK at it TOGETHER. But most importantly for a good, successful, loving marriage you MUST PUT GOD FIRST IN YOUR MARRIAGE AND YOUR LIVES! Everything else after that will fall into place and before long, you two will be acting silly together, having fun together, supporting each other, defending each other, and standing by each other. 

After 25 years...we're getting there

I'm not saying you won't have difficulties, you will. You will get angry at each other, argue, and disagree about things. He will still leave his dirty socks and underwear on the floor and pile his wallet and belt on your tables and leave dirt on the chairs where he put his foot to tie his work boots. And you will still squeeze the toothpaste in the middle, forget to wash his dirty socks, forget to wash the dishes and make the bed. will still love each other if you love the LORD and put HIM FIRST in your lives.

Just because you have a few bumps in the road doesn't mean he's bad, or you're bad, or that you need to separate or call it quits! That's taking a cowardly way out and not facing responsibility. Marriage is NOT all about YOU and it's NOT all about your husband. 

Marriage is designed by God, ordained by God, and blessed by God if you do it GOD'S WAY.

You might be saying, "Well you don't know what MY husband is like!" or "You don't know what my wife DID!" No...I sure don't. BUT, that is no reason to pass the plate on responsibility. Because here's the deal: If you love the Lord MORE than you love your spouse, then things will be better. If you put HIM FIRST in your life, then things will work out. But you BOTH have to do this! He will take care of you and take care of your marriage IF you let Him. And an amazing thing will happen... you will love your spouse even MORE and you will WANT to do things for them.
We love going places together!

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. ~1 Peter 4:8, NLT

My husband and I have a wonderful relationship. Yes, we have had our ups and downs. We have had moments when we didn't talk to each other for a while. A short while. I had moments when I wanted to leave as I'm sure he probably wanted a vacation from me, too. But never did we follow through with that. NEVER! We promised each other long ago that we would ALWAYS talk things through and we would NEVER leave.

25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.[b] 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. 30 And we are members of his body. ~Ephesians 5:25-30, NLT

I grew up in a home listening to my parents fight and argue. Many times I remember hearing one or the other threaten to leave. That instability as a child left me with the insecurity that my husband would do the same thing. But my husband was different. He never did. Instead, he did quite the opposite and got closer. 

When God healed me of the many years of mental and emotional abuse, and the many years of depression and intimidation, our marriage got even better! My husband always supported and loved me through all of it. I was the one who flit from one crisis to another and couldn't figure things out. But he was patient with me as God was patient with me and when I was healed, my mind was cleared and I realized that God had given me a godly husband who DID love me as Christ loved me. God gave me so much more in Don Athen Wilburn than I bargained for. And for that and for him, I thank God every day.

I'm not bragging on US per se. I'm bragging on God.  Because without the LORD in BOTH our lives, we wouldn't have THIS! It's all about HIM. It's all about focusing on and loving Jesus and asking Him what we should do. Because when it comes right down to it, we can't do this by ourselves. We would mess it up! And that's where many couples have difficulties. It isn't about who's right or wrong, or who is the "boss." It's ALL about Jesus.

After 30 years...we're still working on it - together!

31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”[c] 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. ~Ephesians 5:22-33, NLT

Sometimes though, it is necessary to seek professional help in your marriage. Seeking a good marriage counselor is wise advice, especially if your counselor can help you and your spouse discover God's plan for your marriage. If you can't get to a counselor's office, try online counseling together. One place to start would be Better Help online counseling services. You can find them at

Do you want a good marriage? Then put Christ first in your lives. Go to Him for advice. Get counseling if you need to. Pray for one another. Talk things through as a couple, you and your spouse, and always, always talk to God TOGETHER. Before you know it, there will be more love and togetherness in your marriage than you ever dreamed possible. You'll be best friends, confidants, lovers, buddies, and you'll look at your spouse and think, "Wow! I am SO blessed to be with them!" Thank God for that.

*** Shelley Wilburn is not a counselor or doctor but does advocate seeking professional help if you or those you love are in need of it. Shelley is not responsible for Better Help online counseling services or their counselors.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Toothless Lion

In all my "forty-something" years, I have never had more mental clarity than I do right now. This in itself is amazing! The more I walk the path with God, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more clarity I have both spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.

In my state of clarity one thing that has been made very clear is that I do have enemies and one in particular hates me more than anything in this world. I have heard for years that I need to be alert, that I need to pay attention, because my "adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). However, not until recently did I realize that though my hater and deceiver prowls around like a lion, he is a toothless lion...he can do me no harm!

So why then, did I suffer so many years of depression? Why then did I suffer at the hands of so many other people, bearing their hurtful words, the intimidation, the manipulation, the control, the verbal abuse? Why did I walk through so much of my life thinking that I was no good, that I was useless, that there was no hope for me? Why did I think that God couldn't use me, or that I didn't have much to offer, even though I was saved? I'll tell you why: Because I LET my enemy bully me! I let him use other people to bully me. I actually GAVE him permission to come in and take his best shot...many shots! And he almost won. Almost.

Every time someone would say or do something to me that caused me anguish, I would sink a little lower. I would cry and ask "Why?" Why do they do this to me? Why can't I get past this? Why can't I get ahead? Why can't I rise above it? And just when I thought I couldn't take anymore, that everything was hopeless, something inside would whisper, "Just let go," "Trust Me," "I've got you." Sadly, I couldn't decipher it. I could hear it, but I couldn't respond.

I was so far in the pit that I didn't know from which direction my help was coming from. Could God really help me? Could He really heal this brokenness inside me? Could He really have a purpose for me? I got my answer one night and it was a resounding, YES!

He reached down and drew me from the deep, dark hole where I was stranded, mired in the muck and clay. With a gentle hand, He pulled me out To set me down safely on a warm rock; He held me until I was steady enough to continue the journey again. ~Psalm 40:2, The Voice

The day I decided that enough was enough and I wanted to be healed, God started connecting the pieces of my path. They were already laid out for me, waiting, ready, I just needed to make the decision. I was ready. He was willing and able. The following week, I walked the new stepping stones laid out for me and walked right into the healing God had waiting for me...and I haven't looked back.

I'm not saying that there haven't been setbacks. I've tripped on some broken stepping stones. I've stumbled over snags that have been thrown in my way. But as I've stumbled, I've also been able to gain my footing again and continue on the new path, because once God "held me until I was stead enough to continue the journey," I never let go of His hand. 

Yes, there have been people and things that tried to cause me  issues, there always will be. But I am now better equipped than I was in the past. And I have also learned that the past is just that. The past. Those things don't matter. I am not the same person I once was. 

Here's the deal; We are being pursued by a toothless lion my friends. Sounds sort of funny when you think of it like that, doesn't it? A toothless lion. A toothless, de-clawed, angry lion who is about to be crushed under your feet. So stand your ground. Stand firm. But whatever you do...STAND!

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