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,

Shelley

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!

Shelley

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!



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