My Divine Assignment: To Encourage Others

A dear friend who has gone to be with the Lord once told me I was her Barnabas which Biblically means "encourager." I never saw myself like that, but as I've grown in my walk with the Lord it seems that is my desire. I hope that what I share here will be an encouragement to you as we trust the Lord - for great is His Faithfulness.

My Divine Assignment: To Encourage Others.
In Christ's Love, Shelley

KEEP His JOY IN TRIALS, TEARS & TRIUMPHS ~~ A WOMAN'S HEART SHOULD BE SO COMPLETELY LOST IN God THAT A MAN MUST SEEK Him TO FIND HER ~~ Our desire to learn God's Word must be greater than our need to breathe ~~

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Kept Woman

I received this in an email & wanted to share it.  Depending on how old you are the term "kept woman" was not exactly an endearing term BUT the following gives it a whole new meaning. 

A Kept Woman 
I Am a ' Kept ' Woman

You see, there were a few times when I thought I would lose my mind,
but GOD
kept me sane. (Isa. 26:3)

There were times when I thought I could go no longer,
but the LORD
kept me moving. (Gen 28:15)

At times, I've wanted to lash out at those whom I felt had done me wrong,
but the LORD
kept my mouth shut.. (Psa. 13)

Sometimes, I think the money just isn't enough,
but GOD has helped me to
keep the lights on, the water on, the car paid, the house paid, etc.., (Matt. 6:25 -34)

When I thought I would fall, HE
kept me up.
When I thought I was weak, HE
kept me strong! (I Pet. 5:7, Matt. 11:28-30)

I could go on and on and on, but I'm sure you hear me!
I'm blessed to be '
kept '

Do you know a '
kept ' woman?
If so pass it on to her to let her know she is '
Kept '

"Kept" by the Love and Grace of God
God doesn't give you the people you want, He gives you the people you NEED,...
To help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you and to make you into the

Person you were meant to be.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Complain & Remain

Yes, I know, this pic seems to look a bit like the "No Whining" post.  Might I suggest they probably are closely related. As much as I promise I will not complain for just one day it seems to creep in at some point.  On my work days, there's often complaints about the weather & I try to make a positive reply most times. Here's a challenge: Try to take notice of even the smallest complaint that you speak or even think.  You might be amazed & also convicted.  What is it that even makes us feel we have the "right" to complain?  So we have a hard day at work or at home with the kids, gas is skyrocketing as is food and on and on and on.......  When those thoughts come to mind immediately turn your thoughts to praising the Lord for what you have been blessed with.  We all know we need to do this, but let's admit it,  we get so wrapped up in ourselves - there's no other way to put it.  It's not ALL about ME, so let's make it ALL about Him & live with JOY for all He has done for us.  A Bible Study teacher once said, "Complain & remain or praise & be raised." I don't think that needs much explanation.  But if you need one Philippians 2:14 makes it very clear - Do all things without complaining or grumbling.  I'm thinking I might need a piece of duct tape over my mouth initially, how about you?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Morning Watch

I heard the lyrics of a song just a little while ago - "When I rise in the morning, give me Jesus." I'm a morning person, the only one in my family.  My husband, Don, gets up early because it comes with the job - farming.  He likes to watch TV late into the night.  Both of our daughters love to sleep in, but with working 12 hour shifts a few times a week & having small children, sleeping in is a luxury. I have a routine in the morning, but too often I get distracted. Sad to say that what gets crowded out by my "need to get things done" is my devotional time.  I try do them sometime during the day, but don't always "get to it" & it is not the same. Scripture repeatedly speaks of being with the Lord in the morning. Psalm 5:1-3  ( Amplified Bible) Listen to my words, O Lord, give heed to my sighing & groaning. Hear the sound of my cry, my King & my God, for to You do I pray. In the morning You hear my voice, O Lord; in the morning I prepare [a prayer, a sacrifice] for You and watch & wait [for You to speak to my heart].   Recently I have been convicted (not condemned) & disappointed in myself for the loss of discipline in keeping my priorities straight. I've found that when I "confess" my short comings in my posts, the Lord gives me a renewed longing to get it right.  I am recommitting my morning routine to the Lord because of Lamentations 3:21-23 Yet this I call to mind & therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.     A beautiful video for  Give me Jesus
(I have added a new page - enJOYing life - with some helpful ideas, please check it out.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Friends Forever

This week has had it's ups & downs concerning friendships. I spent ta wonderful Thursday afternoon with Kylee, my friend of 30+ years. I had to call a life long friend, Marjie, to let tell her about another friend, Rosalie, who passed away on Sunday. Rosalie was one of our high school teachers along with her husband Don.  I baby sat for her kids.  She was only 74 but she lived life to the fullest & had a wonderful smile & laugh. Today in Columbia City where I grew up, they will have a Celebration of Life at the high school for Rosalie. I know for sure the school will be over flowing with people & tears. And though I cannot be there, I have the assurance I will see Rosalie again One Day.  Even in times of sadness, that's the JOY of having Forever Friends. I am not "happy" about this loss, but my JOY is found in the knowledge of the eternal.  My heart prays that you also have that JOY.  If you are not sure, then please Let Your Heart Seek Him, especially as we enter the real reason for JOY, Easter.  Romans 8:35, 38, 39   Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ... For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

No Whining!!!!

My friend Deb has a quick wit. When I needed my spirit uplifted, I'd go to her house for awhile just to laugh.  On one occasion her son was whining about something. When she had her fill, she asked him, "Would you like a little cheese with that whine?" I had never heard that response before & it did make me laugh, especially when she has the expressions to go with it. Every parent knows that at some point each child goes through a whining stage, some last longer than others. No doubt, we did it when we were kids. It can be very irritating depending on how good they are at it. So when our Heavenly Father hears us whine, how do you suppose He feels?  What? You say you don't whine. Well, it may not be in that annoying voice our kids do it, but we certainly do it. "Oh, Lord, I really don't feel like visiting her today?"  "Do I really have to help with the church nursery - can't they find somebody else to do it?" "I'm too tired to read my Bible tonight, can't I double up tomorrow?"  Any of these sound familiar?  I'm pretty sure they've passed through my mind. I searched long & hard in many Bible translations for the words whine or whining & couldn't find one. BUT I believe this Scripture covers it quite well, at least it's the one the Lord brought to mind.  Psalm 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD...     May be one of the commandments should have been "Thou shalt not whine."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cup of Kindness

I teach 4 & 5 year olds on Wednesday nights at church as part of our Lighthouse Gang Ministry. We are now learning Galatians 5:22 - the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience (long-suffering), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control.  It was brought to my attention years ago that it is the Fruit, not Fruits - so we can't pick & choose those we'd like to have - they are all required. There's a few I'd like to skip. The patience/long suffering one & the self-control seem to be my road blocks.  Now, kindness, that one seems rather easy. Anyone should be able to be kind whether they feel like it or not. The word kindness appears 57 times in the Bible (NIV). A simple act of kindness can lighten another's burdens, especially ones that may not be visible to us. Let us make it a daily habit to offer some one a cup of kindness.  You might just be saving their life - eternally.  Be kinder than necessary than because everyone is fighting some kind of battle - emotional, physical, spiritual.  As I read some of the Scriptures where kindness is included in a list of qualities, I realize that if we desire to have even one, the others cannot help but be there also. We just have to be purposeful about developing them.  If we do, it doesn't leave much time for ungodly traits to take root in our lives.  Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


For most of my life being speechless has not been an issue for me.  Too often I've opened mouth before engaging brain, even with the best of intentions.  I am humbled that God has helped me greatly in this area.  This morning, however, & many other times, I come before the Lord, speechless. I feel overwhelmed by what I see on TV & by the prayer requests: health, immediate needs, restoration in marriages, & reaching the lost. Because of the times I grew up in, I don't understand how we've gotten to this place.  No, that's not true, I know full well why we are here - we have turned our backs on God.  His Word reminds us that those who are obedient & faithful will prosper & He will protect them.  Because of our sinful natures, this is an impossible task - but we as a Nation aren't even trying.   Let us pray that God will open the eyes & minds, not only our leaders, but of those who call themselves Believers to not remain speechless.  Why?  Because what is happening in our world - crime, broken families, wars, famine, natural disasters - is not about oil, land, power or money.  It is about one thing:  the spiritual warfare for the hearts & souls of humanity. C.S. Lewis wrote in The Problem of Pain:“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”  Has he gotten our attention?  If so, what will I personally do about it?  Am I willing to relinquish some of my "precious" time & much of my pride to answer His call?  II Chronicles 7:14 says, If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves & pray & seek My Face & turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven & will forgive their sin & will heal their land.     Read Psalm 36 & 37 - my Bible was open to this as I finished my post.  I guess I wasn't really finished.  God is always here. :-)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Looking for Dorothy

Nope, this is not about the Wizard of Oz - it's better than that!! I was on the phone with Dorothy to make an insurance payment.  We were having some casual conversation while she was doing her job on the other end.  She said something, which I can't remember, but I responded, "Well, if Jesus doesn't come back first."   She laughed saying, "I like the way you think."  I told her that I could tell she had His JOY in her life.  When I told her my age, she said, "That's young!"  :-) My response, "I tell people each day just puts me one day closer to see Jesus, Face to face!"   Again, she laughed that wonderful laugh.  After we concluded the business at hand, I gave her my blog site link telling her it was to encourage Christian women. She wanted to know if she could share it - well of course she can!!  So what am I getting at here???  Because of one short conversation with reference to my Faith, I met a new SIC (Sister in Christ) & though we may never meet fact to face, I hope she does join me on My Heart Seeks Him.  But if not, I certainly will be looking for Dorothy one day when we are in His Presence forever.  Never hesitate to share your faith, even in the smallest way, for God will use that & you may be blessed enough to meet a Dorothy!!  Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Popular or Right

What is popular is not always right, what is right is not always popular. I've had this saying on the cupboard door in my house while my girls were growing up. It pretty much nails down what determines many choices today - especially for our teens & twenty somethings.  I'm sure it applies to us adults as well.
I love this picture. When I'm driving with one or both of my girls along, for some reason, I don't pay attention to the road signs. I must unconciously think that's their job. I get distracted while we're talking. Many times that's what happens when we are making choices.  We get distracted by what others might think or what's easiest - especially when the decision has to be made quickly.  It's as simple as choosing to do the right thing, it can also be the hard thing to do.  But once you've decided ahead of time that in every thing your choice will be to honor God, then there really is only one choice.  This Scripture is written on our wall above the French doors. Choose this day whom you will serve.  As for me & my house we will serve the Lord.  Joshua 24:15

Monday, March 14, 2011

Seeds of the Future

I enJOY gardening, my friend Kylee LOVES it.  She & her mother travel all over to Garden shows. Kylee & I both know that you cannot plant a tiny seed, watch it grow into a flower, bush, or tree without understanding the miracle of what has taken place.  Bottom line: there is a God, there is no other explanation.  Often the fullness of what is planted will only be seen in the future when the gardener is no longer here.  In the light of that, as I live each day, what am I planting for the future in response to God's Word.  Psalm 1:2,3 The one who delights in the law of the Lord, meditates on it day & night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, yielding fruit in season...whatever he does prospers.  By living in obedience to His Word, I plant an example for my children, grandchildren & others.  By God's Grace may we plant seeds of godliness that will produce a harvest of blessings in the lives of others long after we are gone. Begin today in planting seeds for the future for His Kingdom.   (excerpts taken from writings of Paul J. Twist).
Just remember, every flower that ever bloomed had to go through a whole lot of dirt to get there!  Barbara Johnson

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Be Still, Who Me?????

If you've known me very long, you are probably laughing already.  I describe it as having an 8 track mind - anyone remember those?  My friend Jeanie likes quiet. Not me, I have to have background noise even if I'm not paying attention to it. Even while I type this, the radio is on Christian Talk Radio, AFR 91.5 out of Delphos. For me, silence can be deafening. So to Be still, and know that I am God... Psalm 46:10 is hard work for me. I usually have the radio on when I go to sleep, even if it's ocean sounds.  My mind races when there is "nothing" to listen to.  But being still is not just about background noise.  We need to quiet our hearts before the Lord, bringing our whole being into His presence.  In a world going at Mach speed, its not easy to get ourselves to be still.  It is, however, a time when we are drawn into a closer bond with Him and we can truly hear Him speak to us in the stillness.  Let me know how you do with "being still." Pray for me to learn to be still.  The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  He leadeth me beside the still waters, He restoreth my soul....   Psalm 23

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Good Pain???

That seems to be an oxymoron.  Is there really such a thing as good pain?  No one likes pain whether it be physical, emotional or even spiritual.  But on occasion there is good pain & I recently experienced it.  I went to visit my favorite Foot Reflexology Gal, Leslie.  I hadn't been there for quite some time - shame on me!!! I absolutely love having this done, but it can be PAINful.  Yet, that pain lets her know where something just isn't right & when she presses there it lets me know too!!!!  So while she does her thing, I have to bite my lip & work through the pain. This is a time where it's hard to keep my JOY but I know its beneficial.  And so it is with pain in other areas of our lives - the physical pain of an injury, the emotional pain of losing a loved one, the spiritual pain of knowing someone who doesn't have a personal relationship with Christ.  Yet, in each of these areas good can come out of it - a broken arm is healed, the ability to comfort someone else who experiences what you have already gone through & the JOY of knowing someone has come to Christ because God used you.  Although it may not seem like it during the pain, God's Word tell us that - And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28  We have not been promised a painless life, but we have His promise that He will see us through to the other side of the pain.  

Friday, March 11, 2011

All I can do...

If I felt helpless about my glitches the other day, I certainly feel helpless today as I watch what has happened in Japan. Some of our friends moved to Hawaii last fall & we are thankful they are safe. Often. we've heard, "All I can do is pray."  That statement makes me uncomfortable because His Word speaks about the power of prayer.  We've certainly seen it on Face Book Prayer Events lately.  Even if they didn't turn out as we would like, those prayers changed things & encouraged families.  No matter if it's something that happens on the other side of the world, five states away, in our community or in our family, we are commanded (it's not a suggestion) to pray. There is no right way to pray, just pray.  I don't consider myself a Prayer Warrior as  I can't seem to focus very long, but I pray throughout the day & so I'm encouraged by this verse - James 5:16 The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. One of my favorite Scriptures about prayer is Romans 12:12 Be JOYful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Let us be faithful in prayer, who knows what might be changed.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


 The definition of glitches: a defect or malfunction in a machine or plan. I don't do well with glitches. A few days ago, people were able to leave comments on my blog.  Now the comments posted are NOT coming through. I've tried a number of "corrections" to no avail.  I've read the helps page. It didn't help. My friend Jodi does a blog & she's been through this also. Then there was the "glitch" with my Quick Books program - it will no longer open up. I had to purchase a new version. Another glitch - the new router I bought because the old one died, won't let me connect to the internet so I can use my laptop in a different room. These are all machine glitches, but what about glitches in our plans?  I don't do well with them either!!!!  In fact, you might say I can quickly lose my JOY. I've read enough to know when I don't handle these "glitches" well it's because of one thing - not getting my way. And the word for that is selfishness. The Bible has much to say about selfishness which is usually spoken of in acts toward others.  In the situations I've shared it's more about thinking "I don't deserve to have to put up with this, my time is too important."  But when I see what other words are listed in this Scripture verse, it really doesn't matter why I'm selfish - it's not a nice attitude either way.  Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit,  envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like.  Galatians 5:19

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Red Letter Day

This song is one of my favorites by Newsong.  It pretty much says it all & after listening to it again, I believe I need to play it each morning!!!  This is the Scripture that's red in the picture:  II Corinthians 12:9    But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Here is a great video for it. Red Letter Day
Every day before the rush gets started
I get down on my knees
And I pray, Lord, I need You here to guide me
Please speak to me
And something happens that I can't explain
His Word starts talking to me and
I'm out to face this world again

I do believe it's gonna be another red letter day
It's gonna be another red letter day
I do believe it's gonna be another chance for me
To take His Word and walk by faith
I got a smile with every step I take
Knowing He is here with me
It's gonna be a red letter day

I had a friend call me up and tell me
How he struggles through each day
I told him that I didn't have all of the answers
This world's a crazy place
But I've learned to hide God's word in my heart
So I can have it with me when the pressures of the day start
I do believe

So many hidden treasures in God's Word for us to find
The mysteries and secrets that are there to bring us life
I do believe it's gonna be another red letter day
I do believe it's gonna be another chance for me
to take His Word and walk by faith

I do believe it's gonna be another red letter day
I do believe it's gonna be another chance for me
to take His Word and walk by faith

Blessings on your day, make each day a red letter day.   

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Why JOY?

You may have noticed that I tend to emphasize the word JOY.  In fact, I will misspell a word just to include it like reJOYce.  If you've known me for awhile this comes as no surprise.  It began in 1999 when I first listened to an audio book, In the Footsteps of Jesus by Bruce Marchiano who portrayed Jesus in the Visual Bible video, The Gospel of Matthew.  The director's goal was to portray Jesus as a man of joy.  Bruce mentions a book mysteriously "appeared in the wrong section" at a Christian bookstore where he went to do some research for the role.  The book was Jesus Man of Joy by Sherwood Wirt.  Reading about this Jesus gave me the desire to live in JOY, regardless of my circumstances.  Do I always succeed?  No, but I persevere.  Still to this day when I read the word JOY, a smile shows up on my face. I know because I can feel it. Tomorrow begins Lent & we may choose to give something up, but maybe we could choose to start something new for a life time - to choose JOY.  Hebrews 12:2 explains this perfectly: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Happiness depends on our circumstances but JOY  depends on our walk with the Lord  Jesus. Let the JOY begin today for you.
PS - I've added a new page Growing Disciples, so check it out. 

Monday, March 7, 2011


No, I'm not sick & yes, I can spell.  We've all seen MIL (mother-in-law)  or SIL (sister-in-law) & other such abbreviations. But I'm referring to SIC - Sisters-in-Christ.  I don't know if this is an original thought but I like it.  One day I made a SIC list - there was about 25.  Now some of you might think, "Are you kidding, that many?"  For most of us the number of close friendships we have can be counted on one hand & if we are really fortunate, maybe on both hands.  Now with SIC, it's a bit different.  Some of them likely fall into the close friendship category, yet many are co-workers or go to your church.  You don't socialize with them as much as with your close friends, but you enJOY their company.  I have one in Texas whom I've never met in person, some I've known a few years, some thirty-plus years & some all my life - though we became Believers at different times in our lives. The Blessed Factor, as I like to call it, is this:  Most of these women would come at a moment's notice if you needed them & if they couldn't come they'd be in prayer immediately.  If you are as Blessed as I am to have these Sisters in Christ, take some time to let them know what they mean to you.  Friends are friends forever, when the LORD's the Lord of them.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

There Will Be Rain

Yet He has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.   Acts 14:17  The rain continues in Northwest Ohio. Because of a dry summer & fall we really did need the snow & rain, reminding us that God provides our needs.  It seems in the past few years that it rains on the days someone I know is being laid to rest.  Today is one of those days. Is the rain tears from Heaven?  I do not know.  I only know that God is Faithful even when it may not seem like it.  We cannot fathom how deep is His Love for us.  But in the storms, He is there.  We can see Him through the others who comfort & care for us.  We will find His promise "to never leave of forsake us" in His Word.  At times when the whole world seems to be a dull grey, He lets us know of His presence in that first spring flower that pops up.  We will have rain in our lives, some will have much more than others. Let us be there for them with an encouraging word, note or phone call or just sit & hold their hand.  We can be their umbrella in the storms of life. We can help them dance in the rain, even if it is a slow dance as they hold on tightly to make it through. 

Friday, March 4, 2011


Paul Newman once said, "If I have a pulse, I have a purpose."  Sometimes we often wonder what our purpose is, why are we here.  As a follower of Christ, our ultimate purpose is to draw others to Jesus Christ as their Savior & Lord.  As women, we find purpose in the responsibilities we have as daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, grand-mothers.  Often those responsibilities can be over-whelming at times, but there is a perfect Scripture that speaks to this:  I lie down & sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.  Psalm 3:5  Being a "morning person" when I get up I want to "get busy" & I put off seeking the Lord first.  Sometimes my day goes well, sometimes not.  I know that either way, when I wake, its important that My Heart Seeks Him first.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Knees First

Many years ago I went to hear Pastor James McDonald for a weekend in Chicago.  I enjoy his teaching very much.  But what made an impact on me is his statement:  "When I get out of bed, my knees hit the floor first."  Since that time, I can truly say I make that a practice almost every morning.  I do it with my grand-daughters when they stay & they will pray also. What a way to begin your day before the Lord - KNEES FIRST.  Now there may come a time when I won't be able to do that physically, but I can forever do it from the heart.  Actually,  right when I wake up I speak this Scripture: This is the day that You have made, I will reJOYce - pardon my spelling :-)  - and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24.  Believe it or not, that Scripture immediately comes to mind even if I wake up at 3:00 a.m.  May I encourage you to start your day this way, KNEES FIRST. Even if you can't physically do it, do it from the heart.  Come before the Throne of King of Kings.  He longs to hear from you. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Under the Weather

 I VERY MUCH dislike being "under the weather" because my A++ personality finds it a "waste of time."  Curious to see where the phrase came from I found it in The Phrase Finder:  It comes from a maritime source. In the old days, when a sailor was unwell, he was sent down below to help his recovery, under the deck and away from the weather.   As of late, it's allowed me to spend time creating my blog which has be so enJOYable.  What I don't like about being "under the weather" is that I can lose my focus on spending time with the Lord & prayer  because I don't have the mental focus. It seems ironic because that is exactly when I need to be with Him.  In my prayer notebook under PRAISE is this thought - When I am exhausted, I NEED to praise You with every ounce of energy I have left.   Then You will give me the strength I need. Praise breaks a negative spirit & allows me to hear You more clearly.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord.  Psalm 150:6