Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Straighten Your Crown

I sit here looking out the window.  It’s raining.  Still.  There’s a moat around my house.  Not a real one, but there’s been so much rain that it sure looks like a moat out there.  I’m wondering if floaties on the car would be appropriate for today.  The weather alert on my phone went off earlier with a flash flood warning.  Wow.  In December. 

Lovely moat around my house. LOL
 I could dwell on the dreariness.  I could dwell on the isolation.  Because frankly, where I live I could easily get flooded and have to stay indoors for days.  My satellite dish just lost signal.  Nice.  But wait a minute… I’m warm.  I’m dry.  I have food, clothing, heat, and an abundance of other things.  I’m just fine.  I’m surviving.  

Many people today would dwell on the negative.  They would thrive on pushing the negative on others, too.  But that’s not what God wants us to do!  This isn’t about the dark and dreary, although an Edgar Allan Poe story would be fun to read today.  No, this is about shining light in the darkness.  Because as a friend recently said;

“Sometimes on dark days you might think, ‘nobody cares and nobody’s coming.’ That’s when I want you to remember who sends thoughts like that, and you straighten your crown.” ~Dr. Jeannie Killian

The enemy of our souls would love nothing more than for us to begin to think, act, and live defeated.  Oh, but what he also wants us to forget is that we are not defeated.  He is!  He is the defeated one.  He prowls around.  He roars.  He fights.  And in this rain it would be really easy for us to begin to think, “Nobody cares about me,” “Nobody’s coming, I’m alone.”  Yet, that’s a big, fat lie.  You are not alone.   And Somebody has already come for you, fought the fight for you, and won the battle for you.  That makes you more than a conqueror!

It doesn’t matter what you’ve been through.  It doesn’t matter what you’re going through.  You, my dear lovely one are victorious.  You have all the necessary things inside you to rise up and shine brighter than the brightest star in the sky.  You possess everything needed to be the winner that you are.  And the best thing about that is that no one and I mean NOT ONE PERSON can prevent you from taking hold of that and running with it.

Straighten your crown.  Straighten it!  Right now.  Sister, you are a Princess.  You wear a crown.   You are a daughter of the Most High King!  You are royalty.  Sure it would be real easy right now to get sniffly and teary eyed and all bummed out because life is pitching you one lemon after another.  But with all this rain honey, go out there, set out some pitchers and catch some of it.  Then go inside and make some lemonade.  Better yet, straighten your crown, put on your tutu and go dance in the rain!  Dance like nobody’s watching.

Trust me when I say that all those dark, dreary thoughts are not coming from God.  Nope.  They aren’t.  God is not the author of confusion, fear, darkness, or bad stuff happening in your life.  God is love.  God is wisdom.  God is the Father of lights.  Everything good comes down from Him and is meant for our good.  He wants good things for you.  He has great big plans for you.  And whatever the enemy throws at you meaning to destroy you, God will make something good out of it.

Straighten your crown dear lovely one.  Smile and know that you are chosen and you are loved by the Creator of the universe. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

It's Here!

It’s Christmas.

The presents are opened.  Paper everywhere.  Food.  Too much food.  Family is here, there, and everywhere.  The excitement is either just beginning for some or it has dwindled and is all but over for others.  Regardless, it’s Christmas.

It may be a “commercialized pressurized social extravaganza that exploits the bank accounts and credit cards of millions” to some people, but to a vast majority of others Christmas is a very special event.

It’s THE time

Christmas is the time, the time to celebrate the one time that changed all of history for all of humanity for all time.  When Grace was poured out onto an unloving, undeserving, unsuspecting world. 

I could skirt around the issue.  I could segue into one analogy after another.  Yet the fact remains that once all the presents are opened, the food consumed, the family dispersed around the house or wherever it is that they go, the one Truth still remains; Jesus came.  For us.

Because of love

Why did He come?  Because of love.  Hard to fathom, isn’t it?  How could someone love me that much that He would give his life for me?  Maybe if we think about it like this; look at your kids, your grandkids.  How much do you love them?  Would you give your life for them?  Would you trade your life for theirs if the moment came?  Yes.  I would.  I love them that much.  Yes, He loves you that much, too.  And He did trade his life for yours.  That’s why He came.

Still hard to comprehend, isn’t it?  It’s okay.  Grace is a difficult thing to grasp.  But that’s exactly what we need to do.  Reach out, receive it, grasp onto it, never let it go.  It’s free.  It’s a very special gift.  Just receive it.  It’s the greatest Gift.

The greatest things aren’t ever things.

I heard once that the greatest things aren’t ever things.  Those presents under the Christmas tree aren’t the greatest things.  It doesn’t matter the amount of money you’ve spent.  It’s not about things.  It’s about Christ.

We always get our Christmas miracle.

We look for miracles in the everyday.  We ask for miracles, yet we already have one.  We always get our Christmas miracle.  It doesn’t matter what circumstance we’re in.  If we take our eyes off our circumstances we will find our miracle.  Jesus is our miracle and we can have as much of Him as we want, any time we want Him.

Take hold and receive it.

Christmas.  It’s here whether we want it or not, whether we accept it or not.  Christmas is love, grace poured out.  For you to know that love, take hold of it and receive it.  Once you take hold of it, never let it go because once you receive it, Love will never let go of you.

Merry Christmas to you!  Celebrate it all year long, because truly it’s not just a once a year event, but an all year long, lifelong celebration!

With love,


Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s that time.  The song, “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” comes to mind.  And it is the most wonderful time.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are my two favorite times of the year. I just love the decorations of Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The fall colors of Thanksgiving, the thankfulness in the air, and the giving are some of the things I love about that holiday.  The decorations, sparkle, excitement and anticipation of presents and the first coming of Jesus, and especially the general excitement about Him are things I love about Christmas.

 It’s simple really.
Most people would say it’s because of spending time with family.  But that’s not the case for me.  I see my family all year long.  My husband and I have a fantastic relationship with all three of our kids, their spouses, and our grandkids.  So this time of year only enhances that for me.

In all reality, I celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas all year long.  This time of year is wonderful simply because I can increase talking about my favorite Person ever… Jesus. It’s simple really.

Sometimes your heart aches

But for some, the holidays are stressful, lonely, sad, and often cause more heartache than happiness.  Some people are having their first Christmas without someone they love; mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, spouse, brother, sister, child.  I know that feeling very well and my heart aches for them.

In 1995 I lost my paternal grandmother in May, my in-laws divorced (with much angst), and I lost my mother to cancer in July.  She was forty-eight.  There was a lot of stress in our family.  That holiday season emotions were raw, stress was high.  I slipped into deep, severe depression and friends that I thought were friends disappeared.  It was a lonely time.  My husband and I did the best we could with our three small children.  I also thought God had left us.  I was wrong.  He was there the whole time, carrying us.

Reach out this year!

This year, if you know someone who is going through loss, reach out to them.  They will put up a good front, say they’re okay, things are well, but look in their eyes.  Ask the Lord to give you knowledge about them.  Ask Him to give you wisdom to give them a Now Word from Him.  He will reveal things to you that you can use to minister to and love on your friends and family members who are hurting this season.

Don’t leave anyone out

There’s someone who doesn’t have family who is wishing someone, anyone would just say hello to them, or Merry Christmas.  Just say, “Hey, come have dinner with us.”  You don’t have to go out and buy gifts, it’s not about that.  It’s about the One Gift, Jesus.  It’s about loving, caring, showing compassion for others.  It’s about sharing the love of Christ and His gift.

Share the love

Reach out this season.  Share the love.  Jesus loves you so very much and He doesn’t want anyone to be left out.  That’s why He came.  And that in itself makes it the most wonderful time of the year!

Merry Christmas to you and yours,
from us and ours!


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Don't Lose Momentum

Watch out for that banana peel!

Oh the things that get in our way and cause us to slip, trip, or fall.  Those pesky banana peels.  The gum on our seat.  The bubble in the carpet.  The friend who talked behind our back.  The coworker who sidled up to the boss and took the position we were gearing for.  You know the things that cause us to lose momentum in our everyday walk.

How often have we allowed those things to cause us to downshift into a lower gear or stop and shift in reverse?  We can be going along at a nice pace, oblivious to the fact that we’re about to step on a banana peel and slide into the ditch where we’ll spend a little while trying to figure out how to get out again.  Been there?  Done that?  Yeah, me too.

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

In the words of Forrest Gump, “Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re gonna get.”  Cliché but true.  We don’t know what we’re going to get in life.  But we could make preparations ahead of time so that when we do get an unexpected chocolate we’ll know how to swallow it without making a face.

There are times when we find ourselves in that slippery spot, that miry muck that place that causes us to wonder if God really has our best interests in mind.  Of course He does.  But when we’re in a low spot and our momentum has slowed to the speed of snail it’s easy to begin to think negatively.  It’s easy to think we may be going the wrong direction, or maybe we’ve done the wrong thing.

God is Not Mad at You

Is God mad at me?  Is He punishing me?  The answer to those questions is, NO.  God is not mad at you.  God is not punishing you.  God loves you.  He has not nor will He ever give up or quit on you.  He has such a great big plan for your life; things you have no idea about.

Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits. Thank the God of all gods, His love never quits. Thank the Lord of all lords. His love never quits. God remembered us when we were down, His love never quits. Rescued us from the trampling boot, His love never quits. Takes care of everyone in time of need. His love never quits. Thank God, who did it all! His love never quits! ~Psalm 136:1,26 MSG

When you find yourself in a pit and you wonder how you missed the banana peel this is the best time to call out to the Lord and ask Him to help you out.  But be aware that while you’re in the pit, there may be a lesson for you to learn there.

Run With It

We’re all in the race of life.  There are lessons to be learned, people to be helped, and things to be accomplished.  We often wonder what our purpose is in life.  We wonder where we fit into all this.  But we each have a calling.  We each have a purpose.  The trick is to discover what that is and run with it.

Many times though the thing we’re called to do is something that scares us, makes us uncomfortable, or we just downright don’t want to do it.  And that my friends is how we slip on the banana peel, sit in the gum, or trip on the bubble in the carpet.  That fear we feel, the uncomfortable feeling we feel, and the obstinate attitude we take are all things the enemy throws at us to either prevent us from cooperating with God or cause us to doubt our purpose.

So how do we identify it before we mess up?  Sometimes we don’t, especially if we aren’t paying attention.  But if we are looking for it, if we’re prepared for it, we can get ahead of it and keep our momentum going.

Stay Connected

By staying connected to God in prayer, reading our Bible, and surrounding ourselves with Godly people we can stay connected spiritually.   We’ll become stronger.  We’ll be able to sense a spiritual attack before it actually happens.  We’ll be able to identify it and head it off.  Yes, the attack will still come, but we’ll be prepared and be able to plow through it without losing our momentum.

Stay Positive

In Algebra we learn that a negative times a negative equals a negative.  A positive times a negative also equals a negative.  But a positive times a positive equals a positive.  If we surround ourselves with positive things, positive people, and positive talk, we’ll stay positive.  However, if we are constantly surrounded by negative things, before long we’ll begin to think, speak and act negatively.  In the spiritual though, we can take something negative and turn it around to positive, which totally blows the algebraic equation out of the system.  So stay positive.

 Stay With It

Don’t ever give up.  Many people quit the race when they lose their momentum.  They get discouraged.  They get embarrassed.  Then they lose hope.  This is exactly what our opponent wants us to do.  Lose hope.  He wants us to become distracted.  He wants us to lose momentum and just give up.  If we start to believe we’ve fallen too far behind, we’ll give up and that’s exactly the ploy of the enemy.

 However, if we stay with it and begin to fight back we’ll catch back up.  Seriously, this isn’t a race to see who comes in first.  Actually, if we know Jesus, we all come in first!  You see, all those who are pushing and shoving now trying to get ahead of the game in whatever way they can (lying, cheating, and stealing) will one day find themselves at the back of the line while those of us who kept our momentum throughout the race will be moved to the front.  So stay with it!

Life is a bumpy, slippery, sticky mess.  There are things and people who will do whatever they can to slow you down and cause you to back off.  But if you trust the Lord and keep your pace you’ll soon find yourself in a happier place because of it.  And while you’re at it, have fun!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Rule #28: If You Need Help Ask

Rule #28

I’m sure we aren’t the only ones who DVR our favorite TV shows.  One of our favorites is NCIS, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs being one of our favorite characters.  Agent Gibbs has a series of personal rules that he frequently quotes to his team when they struggle with various things.  And sometimes they quote Agent Gibbs’ rules back to him.

One of the most recent rule quotes caught my attention.  Rule #28: When You Need Help Ask.  How often in life do we need help, but never ask?  We always want to do things ourselves.   Why?  To prove we can do it?   Because we want to be a grown-up?  Because we want to be independent? 

No! I do it all by self!

When our oldest daughter was just a toddler, she decided that she could do things on her own.  We would try to help her and she would push our hands away and claim, “No! I do it all by self!”  Of course, we would let her try.  When she would discover that she couldn’t “do it all by self” we would step in and help her.  But things would have gone so much smoother, and quicker, if she would have just let us take care of it.

How often do we do that with God?  Our heavenly Father wants to help us with things, but we’re always pushing His hands away claiming, “No! I do it all by self!”  We don’t want Him in our finances.  We don’t want Him in our relationships, or friendships.  We don’t want Him in our schools, our homes, or our government.  We don’t even want Him in our lives sometimes.

But what happens when things start to crumble?  We could complain about it.  Many people in fact do a lot of complaining.  But would that or does that change anything?  No.  The answer has been in Rule #28 the whole time: When You Need Help Ask.  It’s the same with God.  When you need help ask Him.

 If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. ~James 1:5-6, The Message

God loves helping us.  He wants us to ask.  He wants us to come to Him, boldly, believingly, and without a second thought.  He needs to be our “Go-to Guy” for each and every decision, problem and issue no matter how big our small, or how ridiculous we think it may be. 

He’s Always There

The best part about God is that when we go to Him and ask for help, He is there.  Period.  He’s there.  He doesn’t counter our questions or requests with another question, condemnation, or ridicule.  Nope.  He doesn’t laugh.  He takes each of our requests seriously.  He doesn’t say, “Well, you made your bed now lie in it.”  He doesn’t say, “You brought this on yourself.”  He’s not like that.

God is a loving, gentle, kind, and fair God.  He is so crazy about you that you can’t even imagine it.  So why would you wait to go to Him?  Rule #28: When you need help ask.  Now.  Not tomorrow.  Not later.  Not when you get things straightened out yourself.  No.  Ask.  Now.  Why suffer any longer?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Today I took out a little time to Shabbat.  I took a break.  I stopped what I was doing so I could just breathe.  I took out some time and just spent my Shabbat with God.  I talked to Him.  I listened.  And the most amazing thing happened; He talked to me.

To Shabbat means that we cease 
We stop.  We resist the urge to continue.  Shabbat means that we just basically stop all activity and get quiet.  Face it, we have become so busy in our everyday lives that we neglect to stop for one moment in time to just be quiet and listen to God.

 Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything. ~Psalm 46:10, The Massage

Some people say God doesn’t speak to people anymore.  That’s a lie.  He does.  People don’t hear God anymore because people don’t Shabbat.  Not long ago I attended a ladies event called “Breathe Night.”  It was a time for us to get together and just…well…breathe.  To take some time off, relax, visit.  

One of the things laid out for us at this event were coloring pages.  Now, anyone who knows me knows that I love to color.  But I don’t color like most people color.  I go outside the lines.  On purpose.  Coloring gives me a time to relax.  It lets me breathe.  It allows me to let go of inhibitions and just be me.  Coloring lets me Shabbat.

Don’t fret or worry.  Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. ~Philippians 4:6, The Message 

When I color, my mind shifts into neutral.  When I’m in neutral I begin to hear that still, small, but wonderful voice that ministers to my soul.  I hear Him.  I listen.  I breathe.  There are all kinds of coloring books for adults out there today.  But hey, you don’t have to go buy an adult coloring book.  If you have kids, use one of theirs.  Many times I’ve colored Thomas the Train, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, princesses, cartoon characters, it doesn’t matter.  It’s not about what you color.  It’s about Shabbat.

Stop.  Cease.  Resist the urge to continue.
Shabbat isn’t about coloring, either.  Shabbat is about stopping in your tracks and spending some quiet time with the Lord.  In whatever way that ministers to you the most, do it.  It’s about taking a break.  Take some time out today.  Read your Bible.  Listen.  Watch the leaves fall from the trees.  Color.  Cuddle up in your cozy place and just get quiet.  God will meet you wherever you are.  If you give Him a moment of your time, He will come and talk to you.

Call to me and I will answer you.  I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own. ~Jeremiah 33:3, The Message

The enemy wants to speed you up.  Don’t let him.  Instead, Shabbat.  When you do, I guarantee that you won’t regret it.  Give yourself time to relax, adjust, unwind, to just stop and enjoy this beautiful life God has given you.

Shabbat!  You just might learn something.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What's It All About?

What’s Your Book About?

When people ask me what my book is about, I often go blank.  Not because I don’t remember, but because I find it difficult to fully explain exactly what’s in it.  It’s complicated.  Yet, it’s so simple that I make it complicated.

“What’s your book about?”
“Um… healing.  It’s about my journey after being healed of over forty years of depression, intimidation, and mental and emotional abuse.”

They usually back up, a look of ‘oh great, she’s a wacko’ on their face.  Seriously, it is about the healing but it’s about so much more than that.

It’s About So Much More Than Healing

Walking Healed is about God wanting to work in the lives of His people.  Yes, it’s an account of my journey.  However, there’s not much about me in the book.  I try to convey different thoughts throughout the book that connect to my healing but also give the reader an insight into how God wants to do this in their lives.

This book is written for those who are dealing with depression, intimidation, verbal abuse, addictions, or whatever else they may be going through that prevents them from living the abundant life that Jesus died so we can have.  That’s what it’s about.  It’s also for those who, in their minds think they’re being helpful when in reality they’re causing more hurt than help.

I was approached by a man not long after the launch of Walking Healed.  He had been talking to my husband then looked pointedly at me and said, “Actually, I really wanted to see you.  I have something to say to you.”

At this point, I wasn’t sure what he wanted to say to me, but after he finished talking with my husband he turned to me, “I read your book.”  His eyes became misty, but he continued anyway.  “I thought I was buying it for someone else.  Turns out, I was buying it for me.  Because of what you wrote, I was able to salvage a relationship.  So thank you.  And I’m going to give you a big hug.”

It’s moments like this that I realize God is doing a vast miracle in the lives of those who read this book.  It’s not about me at all.  It’s about what God did in and through me and what He’s doing in those who are reading.  Without Him, there would be no healing.  There would be no book.  There would be no one else’s life being changed.

It’s A Journey

Walking Healed is a journey.  It’s my journey after being healed.  In the book I do talk about different things I have gone through, that many other people may be going through.  I had to become very transparent and talk about some things that were not pleasant for me.  In no way did I degrade anyone, but I did talk about the verbal abuse that I suffered from many family members, teachers, peers, and others.  It had to be said.  No names were mentioned so really no one knows to whom I was referring.

Life is real.  Life is hard.  We often go through things that cause us hurt and distress.  We suffer.  It’s a given.  This world is not our home.  It may sound cliché but it’s the truth.  This is why I call this a journey.  If becoming transparent enough to share what I’ve been through and how God helped me out of it helps someone else, then I’m glad I did it.  And I would do it again, and again, and again.

Keep Telling Your Story

There are also people who don’t want to hear my story.  That’s okay.  Some wish I would stop talking about it.  To that I can only say, keep wishing.  It’s not going to happen.  A very wise and Godly man once told me, “Don’t ever stop talking about your healing.  Your story needs to be heard because it gives encouragement to others who need to hear what you went through.  So keep telling it.”  I take his advice as much as I can.

People are going to get mad because, “she’s talking about her healing again.”  Yes I am! Because, not everyone has heard it.  If you happen to be standing close enough to overhear me start telling it again and don’t want to hear it, just walk away.  The person I’m telling it to may just need some encouragement, to hear how God wants to touch their life. 

Special Book Offer

If you haven’t read Walking Healed and would like to, I’m offering an electronic copy* of it to anyone who responds to this post.  I’m also offering a signed paperback copy to the first five people who email me at shelley@shelleywilburn.org.  The holidays are fast approaching.  Walking Healed would make a great gift.

Wouldn’t you like to walk healed in the New Year, or see someone you love walk healed?  The book doesn’t heal.  But the God who healed me so I could write the book does. 

*If you choose an electronic version please indicate which format you prefer; Kindle, Nook, or PDF

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Rolling From the Apple Tree

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

According to Wictionary.org the meaning of that is, “A child grows up to be similar to its parents, both in behavior and in physical characteristics.”

This statement can be meant to be positive or negative.  Sometimes people say it in reference to a baby resembling one or the other parent, which is a nice compliment.  Other times, people say it as an insult to hurt someone. 

For the apple to stay close to the tree would mean it continues to stay in the same path as the tree.  It looks like where it came from, tastes like where it came from and can easily be identified because it hasn’t fallen far from the tree.

The apple here is a metaphor for people.  If we stick close to those around us before long we begin to act and sound just like them, thereby making, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” a very true statement.

Hurtful words cause us to hurt others.  If we are treated badly, we’ll treat others badly.  If we are talked to negatively, we’ll talk to others negatively.  We become a bruised, sour apple and we make more bruised, sour apples in the people we come in contact with.

Sure, we make mistakes.  However, if we follow in the footsteps of Jesus, we begin to act and sound just like Him.  If we read His Word and follow His teachings, we will become more like Him.  Let Jesus into your life.  Listen to His Words.  He can take the bruised apple and make it smooth.  He can take the sour apple and make it sweet. 

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” ~Proverbs 25:11 (NKJV)

Very often the negative people in our lives try to keep us banged up and bruised in order to keep themselves from facing the truth of their own lives.  But you can change your life.  By following Jesus, you can have a new life.  Sweeter.  Different.  Better.

Yes, I fell from the tree.  Bumped, bruised, and battered, I rolled.  My roots tried to roll me back time and time again, always attempting to engage me in things I once said and did.  Many times, defeated I rolled back, more bruised, more battered.  I would go back into more hurt, more depression, more hopelessness.

One time though, I didn’t roll back.  One time I rolled all the way down the hill, away from the roots, and let Jesus smooth me out, and sweeten me up.  Trust me, once you roll down the hill, away from the tree, you can’t roll back up the hill again and you won’t want to.

Don’t misunderstand, people will remember your past, but it doesn’t have to affect you negatively.  Once Jesus heals you and smooths you out, you’re not the same person anymore and no one can hold you to your past unless you let them.  Instead, choose to be a new, sweeter apple.

The next time you hear, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” you’ll know that it does if it rolls down the hill and away from the bitter roots.

“For thus says the Lord of hosts: “He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.” ~ Zechariah 2:8 (NKJV)

You are the apple of His eye.  Nothing or no one can change that.  You are chosen, hand-picked by God, and you are loved.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

You're Right Where You Are

“If you ain’t where you are, you’re no place.” ~Col. Sherman Potter, M.A.S.H. 4077

Sitting in a little bakery at a lunch meeting one afternoon, I listened as the young lady I was meeting with said, “God has me right where He wants me.”  I smiled.  I felt proud for her because she was so confident that she knew and I was happy for her.  Then I smiled more because at that moment, I knew that He has me right where He wants me too and for once in my life I knew it.  How ironic.

How do we know that we are right where God wants us?  How do we know that what we’re doing is in His will for our lives?  Many people have asked me this.  First of all, don’t trust your feelings.  Feelings are fickle.  They change like the wind.  Don’t trust your circumstances, either.  Because without warning those can also change.

So how do we really know that we are in the will of God?  Faith.  Trust.  We have to ask God to show us in ways we can understand, then follow His leading, His prompting, and just go with it, even if it seems weird.

If you want to fit in, be where God puts you.

God doesn’t always do things by the book.  Meaning, God doesn’t do things the way society dictates.  On the contrary, He does things His way, by His book, which means that quite often it’s over the top, out of our comfort zone, seemingly impossible, and the most outrageous thing you’ve ever thought of. 

“The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.”  ~Psalm 32:8, NLT

Everyone is looking for where they fit in.  Everyone wants to fit in somewhere.  And everyone does fit in.  God has a place for each and every one of us.  It’s a one-size-fits-all and it’s a custom fit for everyone.  It’s just your size.  Where you fit in is tailor made just for you.  It’s already waiting for you.  You don’t have to be fitted for it.  God already took care of that.  All you have to do is show up and step into it.  Go ahead. Try it on!  You’re right where you are for a reason. No matter where you are, if you’re where God wants you, you’re definitely someplace.

Monday, September 28, 2015

You Mean I Have to Forgive?!

No, you don’t have to.  But you’ll want to when you know that in order for God to forgive you, you’ll have to be forgiving.  Jesus said so.

But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. ~Matthew 6:15 (NKJV)

God won’t forgive me if I don’t forgive others?  Nope.  How can He when you’re harboring such venom for others?  Oh, I don’t know what they did to you?  No, I don’t.  But you also don’t know what others have done to me, either.  Yet, here we are.

Two Parts

Forgiveness has two parts: 1) forgiveness for others; 2) forgiveness for you.  That may not be very easy for some.  We all go through things in life.  Some things are very difficult to accept.  Some things are beyond comprehension.  But what you need to understand about forgiveness is that regardless of what someone has done to you, forgiving them actually frees you.

It doesn’t mean that you allow that person back into your life to continue the abuse, the hurt, or whatever it is that they did.  Forgiving them doesn’t mean restoration of the relationship.  Forgiving them means that you reconcile to the fact that you forgive them for what they did and you each move on.  That relationship can never be what it once was.  And sometimes it’s better to go separate ways.  Be cordial to one another, but stay at a distance.

Not Off the Hook

Forgiveness also doesn’t mean that you’re letting that person off the hook.  It means that you are willing to let it go into the hands of God and allow Him to take care of the repercussions.

Now, once you forgive your offender, abuser, or whoever they are, you do not get to go back to that offense later down the road however many years and drag it back up, drag them through the mud with it, and accuse them once again.  Not even if they make you mad about something else.

The same is true with you.  Let’s face it, we make mistakes.  We mess up.  I do daily.  And through the years I’ve made some pretty bad mistakes and hurt many different people.  But the beautiful thing about that is, when God healed me I learned to forgive myself.  Yes, I apologized to those I hurt.  Some forgave me, some didn’t.  But I learned to forgive myself and move on.  Yes, I tried to hold onto my own hurt over some things I had done, because a few people chose to hold onto it and try to hold it over my head.  But once I realized that I had apologized not only to them, but to God, it was done.  Over.

What about those who won’t forgive?  What about things I didn’t do that I’m being accused of?  Here’s a little secret; you can’t worry about that.  Give it to the Lord and then leave it alone.  And the biggest thing you can do is to pray for those who are unforgiving.

Take Responsibility

Unforgiving people are very unhappy people.  Rather than take responsibility for their actions, it’s easier for them to blame someone else.  I know.  I’ve been that person.  And it hurts you worse when you do that than it does to admit you made a mistake and ask for forgiveness.

Forgiveness is healing.  It’s a huge release of stress, anxiety, evil thoughts and feelings, it’s very freeing.  Forgiveness releases others and it releases you.  Think of Jesus on the cross.  He had been lied about, lied to, spat upon, beaten, flogged, pierced, called names, ridiculed… There isn’t anything we go through today that He didn’t go through.  And as He was nailed to the cross then hanging there in excruciating pain, what did He do?  He forgave!  He cried out to God and said, “Father, forgive them.  For they know not what they do.”

He forgave!  While dying an innocent, Jesus chose to forgive.  Now… some relationships with Him would never be reconciled or restored.  And that is the most tragic. 

Stop Beating Yourself Up!

There is so much to be said about forgiveness.  By forgiving others you are simply saying, “I’m not allowing this to happen anymore.  I forgive you.”  Then go your way.  Forgiving yourself you just decide to stop beating yourself up for your past mistakes and move forward not repeating them.

One thing Jesus said to some that He forgave, “Go, and sin no more.”  Just don’t repeat it.  Learn from it and move on.  Forgiveness may not be easy, but it’s necessary.

Need a little help?  Ask the Lord.  Let Him teach you how.  He’s really good at it.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Who Needs It?

I'm presently sitting in a very nice hotel room two blocks from Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee.  The door to my sixth-floor balcony is propped open with the trash can because the live band playing Blues music is awesome. Plus, there's a very nice, cool breeze coming in that door. Hey, we're six floors up, no one can window peep (the curtains are closed anyway)!

While I'm sitting here, typing on my iPad,  I'm thinking about all those people I saw earlier as we strolled along Beale Street, my husband and I holding hands, enjoying the scenery and bright lights...and looking for a Starbucks. Okay, I may have a slight addiction. But people watching has become a sort of hobby for me. I love to smile at people as we pass on the street.

I love to try to make eye contact with various people. I want to see their eyes. Are they clear and bright? Dull and lifeless? Sad? Angry? Hurting? Lonely? The eyes are a window into the soul of that person. They tell the story before the mouth will. So in a brief passing if a person will make eye contact, and you are paying attention, you can learn a lot.

How many of those eyes will tell you, "I just want someone to understand?" How many more will say, "I'm hiding behind a lifetime of hurt?" Some even say, "I just want to be healed, but I don't know how."

Everywhere Jesus went, people came to Him to be healed of one thing or another. Some would not ispeak up. Some would. Some would think, if I could just get close enough to touch Him, I will be healed. And they were. But there were also those whom Jesus walked right up to and boldly asked, "Do you want to be made well?" or "What do you want Me to do for you?" Can you imagine?

But really, who needs it? Who really needs healing? And from what? Well, in my case it was depression, intimidation, no self-esteem, no self-worth, and a few other things that just really kept me from having that close relationship with the Lord that He desired to have with me. It also kept me from operating in the ministry He was calling me into, that I thought was just my silly, girlish daydreams. Turns out, I wasn't wrong!

So many people right now are walking in depression, poverty, sadness, hurt, intimidation, abuse, and many other things when they could be walking healed. If they would just look up. Look into their eyes. What do you see? Someone who needs healing? My hope is that when people look into mine, they see Jesus.

So, who needs it?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Who You Talkin' To?

The word today is Pray.  I’ve been thinking a lot about prayer.  Apparently so have a lot of other people.  I say that because my pastor preached about it recently, there’s a movie about it (War Room) and for some reason prayer is exactly what I’ve been struggling with.  That might intimidate some people.  It sometimes intimidates me.  But praying has been on my mind a lot lately, especially with the movie being released.  Maybe you wonder why it’s been prevalent in my mind.  I don’t wonder.  I already know.

Prayer is our direct line to the Lord, to God.  Prayer is our lifeline, it’s our strategy for spiritual warfare, it’s our very life.  And if you think we don’t have spiritual warfare, then you’re not where God wants you to be and the devil isn’t concerned about you.  That’s a scary place to be.  Because if you truly belong to the Lord, if you love Him, serve Him, and walk according to your calling, then you’re sure to be under spiritual warfare and need to be in prayer.

Jesus said this about prayer;

“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” ~Matthew 6:6, NKJV

To pray simply means to have a conversation with our Heavenly Father.  To talk to God.  And with that, many people tense up feel anxious, and some even become fearful.  Talk to God.  The God!  The Maker of the Universe, the earth, sky, trees, waters, birds, fish, animals, and yes even us.  Talk to Him?  Yes!

But how?

For centuries people have wondered the same thing.  How do we actually talk to God?  What is prayer?  How do we do it?  Even Jesus’ Disciples asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1-4).  They had watched Him go off alone to talk to His Father.  They knew He often got up way before dawn and went to pray. Yet, when it came to them praying, they didn’t know how?

How do we access God?

Simply put, we access God by opening our hearts, our minds, and our mouths and TALK.  How do you talk to your best friend?  It’s the same with God.  Just do it.  There are so many self-help books out there on prayer today.  There are so many acronyms for teaching us the “proper” way to pray.  They’re all very helpful, too.  But if they cause you anxiety, confusion, and prevent you from praying, then my suggestion is to just go to God, humbly, honestly, and reverently (respectfully) and just talk to Him.  That’s all He wants.

God just wants to have a relationship with you.  He wants your attention.  He wants to give you His attention.  He is already listening for you, waiting for you.  He will bend down and give his ear to listen to you.  Why?  Because He loves you.  He is crazy about you.  I mean, He made you so why wouldn’t He be nuts over you?  Really!

Talk to God like you do your best friend.

Yes, I had heard that over and over again for years and years.  Even after God healed me, I prayed to Him, but I still struggled with how to start and how to end.  I thought that by saying “Amen” it meant my prayer was over and the conversation was ended.  But I was wrong.  Amen simply means, “So be it.”  By saying “in Jesus’ name” simply means that we are agreeing with Him, we are praying as He instructed in His Word that we should ask anything in His name.  It’s not hard to do.

“If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” ~John 14:14 (NKJV)

When we talk to God, it’s okay to tell Him how you feel.  He wants to know.  He already knows, but He wants you to tell Him anyway.  By doing that, you are confessing to Him, you’re trusting Him.  You’re getting things off your chest.  You are “casting all your cares upon Him” (1 Peter 5:7).

In turn, God wants you to listen to Him.  Wait patiently for Him to talk to you.  I’ve stood on my porch stoop before, waiting… and waiting… and waiting… thinking He’s never going to say anything.  And when He does, how will I know it’s Him?  Maybe you’re there, too.  Maybe you wonder how you’ll know.  This is what happened to me; as I stood there one day, I decided in my heart that I wasn’t leaving the stoop until He answered me.  I decided that I wanted my joy back and I wasn’t leaving until I had it.  So I closed my eyes and just listened. 

As I stood there listening something happened.  I began to calm down.  I began to enjoy the sounds around me.  And then, ever so subtly, so quietly, I felt the joy wash over me in a soft caress and I knew.  I KNEW it was Him!  How long had I stood there?  I don’t know.  I also don’t care.  Because God, the Creator, Author, and Finisher of not only my faith, but of time was in charge and I was more than happy to let Him be.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry.” ~Psalm 40:1 (NKJV)

Prayer.  It’s simple.   It’s assertive.  It’s bold.  It’s so much more than we make it, yet so much easier than we allow it to be.  Jesus said if we pray in secret, He will reward us openly.  This is so very true!  It’s amazing and it’s wonderful.

In the movie War Room, Miss Clara taught her protégé Elizabeth how to get specific when she prays in her secret war room.  It’s not difficult.  Just write down your specific requests, write down Scriptures, and then PRAY.  But also, don’t forget to write down when God answers your prayers, because He promises that He will.

So, Who are you talkin’ to today?

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