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 ~~

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sounds of Silence

So, was your first thought Sounds of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel?  I guess that would depend on your age, but either way, is there really a sound  to silence? I don't do well with silence, needing some "noise" in the back ground, even if I'm not paying attention to it.  I'm still working on one of my earlier blogs "Be Still" which falls into the same category.
I am reading through The Uncluttered Heart - making room for God during Advent & Christmas by Beth Richardson again this year. A few days ago there was reference to times of silence before God.  In Beth's early walk with the Lord, as she attempted to be silent before God, she wrote this: "my brain chattered louder during the silent times than when I was engaged in conversation...a wave of thoughts & emotions tended to drown out anything God might be wanting to say to me."  OH BOY, does that sound like me !!!  And I'm sure many young mothers feel this way often.
    Beth goes on to share: "...we can & need to carve out space & time to sit in silence (include your children in the practice of quiet time), to quiet our inner noise & turn toward God. When feeling overwhelmed & hurried, turn your attention inward, close your ears to outward noise, take deep breaths & come into the welcoming silence of the Heart of God."  Like anything we do, it takes commitment & practice to grow in a discipline (a topic for an upcoming post.)
     Beth includes this prayer. I encourage you to copy & place it in a prominent place to remind you.  "God of stillness, it's easy to overlook you in these busy days.  Create in me a longing for your quiet presence, that I may stop, breathe, & listen for Your Wisdom & Instruction.  Amen."

Mark 6:31   Jesus said, "Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place & get some rest."
Psalm 46:10  "Be still (cease striving/return/let go of your concerns) & know that I am God."

     I pray that you & I will step out of the chaos we sometimes find ourselves in for it is only through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, that we are able to step into the Presence of God & quiet are hearts & minds before Him.
     Let me know if I can pray for you in this way & please pray for me, also.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Not My Home

In a few weeks the year 2012 will be over, well unless you believe the Mayans knew what they were talking about & the world "ends" on December 21st.  A few days into January, the calendar will remind me that I will be a older  As I see more gray in my hair, which I do cover, I now see a few in my eyebrows, along with the wrinkles around my lips, the spider veins on my legs, etc.  While  putting on  makeup yesterday, as I use a 10x magnifying mirror to see all those "flaws" close up, the thought came to me: This is NOT my home.
       That phrase is used often by Christ Followers in reference to living here on earth as opposed to one day being in Heaven. Yet, it also applies to this earthly shell we are contained in that in Heaven will be flaw free with no more disease, pain or tears.  What a glorious thought, but often hard to grasp or be content with while we are here dealing with the process of aging.
       If you are like me, you try not to complain, but I find even the little physical issues annoying.  I just want to feel good ALL the time.  Often I am quickly reminded of others who are suffering much more & I feel a twinge of guilt for being so selfish/whiny or whatever you want to call it. 
      I truly am grateful that my aches &  pains are few & minimal, thanking God for His mercy upon me.  I know full well it is undeserved.  Sometimes, in my heart, I feel my thankfulness sounds so trite to the Lord & it bothers me.  Yet His Word clearly says in I Thessalonians 5:16-22  "Be JOYful always, pray continually, give thanks in ALL circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
      Whether it is our bodies or our house that we reside in, both are deteriorating.  BUT the GOOD NEWS for Christ Followers is found in many Scriptures.  Here are just a few & they are truly something to be JOYful about:

II Corinthians 5:1,2  Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.   For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 

I Corinthians 15:53,54  For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die. When this happens -- when our perishable earthly bodies have been transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die -- then at last the Scriptures will come true: "Death is swallowed up in victory.

Philippians 3:20 " But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ"
Revelation 21:3-5  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be his people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.   He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!"

PS - Don't forget that if you sign in by Anonymous to leave a comment, please include name within post so I know who you are !!!! (Image:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Trust Me

     Oh how often we hear those words during the political cycle, but they are also insinuated about so many other things in commercials, magazine ads, by news anchors and on and on.  Whenever I hear those words whether spoken or "unspoken" the pic I posted is the one I visualize.  
     We teach our children to trust what we say and, out of respect, to believe what their teachers and Pastors also say.  At some point in our lives and theirs a decision needs to be made.  As the old TV show said, "Who Do You Trust?"
     Because of fallen human nature - i.e. sin - at some point along the way people will fail us - from family, friends, co-workers, employers and even members of the Clergy.  There is only One that can be trusted to do what He said He would do - God, the Father of our Savior Jesus Christ.  The Bible calls us to be Bereans:  Acts 17: 11   Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
     The Bearans did not take Paul's word for it, but searched God's Word to gain full knowledge of what was being said.  I pray that we do the same, asking for God to give us His Wisdom and Discernment as we seek to know His Truth.  Many things are not directly addressed in the Bible but there are precepts that clearly tell us where we should stand or how we should respond to what the world tells us.
     May I simply leave you with the Word of God in these uncertain times.  
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in Me."    John 14:1
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.   Romans 15:13
Those who know Your Name will trust in You, for You, LORD, have never forsaken 
those who seek You.   Psalm 9:10
But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation.  Psalm 13:5

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Little Margie

     Some of you will remember this TV program, others won't have a clue.  As I searched for a photo, I read that it ran from 1952-55 so I must have seen reruns of it since I was only 3 in '55.  The premise of the show was 21 year-old Margie Albright, who lived with her widowed father Vernon in a New York City penthouse, an executive for the investment counseling firm Honeywell & Todd, and was perpetually in fear of losing "the big account" because of Margie's meddling.
     I actually have a Marjie in my life - a life long friend.  We were re-connected through Facebook a few years ago.  As I was doing a devotional the other day, it took me back to my growing up years in Columbia City, IN.  We went to school together 12 years, well except for 7th & 8th grade when my family moved to the country.   Marjie & I went to Brownies & Girl Scouts in our early years & hung out at the pool in the summers.  We even double dated throughout our high school years.  Our Mom's bowled together on Thursdays and our Dad's often ate at Dues restaurant together.  Marjie's dad was a lawyer and my dad was a plumber.
       My devotional brought to my mind that I never thought there was a status difference between her family & mine.  We were just normal families living in a home-grown town.  As I look back, I realize the different financial statuses in my classmates, but I never went to one of their homes wishing I had a nicer home or that mine was better than someone else.  Because our High School was made up of the city kids and the township schools our class was over 250 kids.  I don't remember ever thinking "lowly" of others - we were all the same. 
       And that's how it is with God - we are all the same in His eyes.  We have all fallen short of His Righteousness and there is nothing we have in material possessions or can do to make ourselves right with  Him.  It has all been done through God's sacrifice of His Only Son Jesus Christ - our part is to accept the Gift that was freely given.
     For God so LOVED the world, that He GAVE His One & Only Son, Jesus Christ, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have life ETERNAL.  John 3:16

     I am grateful that the Lord allowed Marjie & I to reconnect after all these years along with other friends from my "younger years."   As singer/songwriter Michael W. Smith put it, "Friends are friends forever when the LORD's the Lord of them."   Now that's a gift for eternity.

photo from

Saturday, October 13, 2012

How many ?

     That question reminds me of how we did math growing up - if you have 3 apples in a bowl and 5 apples in a box, how many apples do you have ?
     I have been making some Pear/Applesauce these past few days.  I love doing this because it's a Crockpot recipe & way too easy.  My Autumn Harvest Applesauce, also done in the Crockpot, is a big hit as it has cranberries in it.  REAL cranberries (not like those hard, pale things in a bag) from Wisconsin where Kirby, my cousin & his wife Anne live & graciously send them to me.  (These recipes are on my Living Naturally linked above on this page .)
     I was given some pears from my sister-in-law Ann who told me about the Pear/Applesauce recipe.  Hers added vanilla & cinnamon but the one I'm using has Cardamon (Chai spice) in it.  Having never used Cardamon I was a bit shocked to see how expensive it is - $12.48 for a 2.3 oz bottle at Walmart- YIKES - so I checked online. NOT any cheaper but I found some at The Old Thyme Pantry  in smaller amounts although it comes out to $67.00/lb.   The end result is worth it !!!
     Needless to say I've used lots of pears and apples lately - how many?  At least 20# of apples and maybe 10# of pears but I'm not sure just how many that was.  Thank the Lord for whoever invented the Apple peeler/corer/slicer gadget though !!!
     Here's another how many question - How many clothes, CDs, DVDs, cars, toys, trinkets, electronic or digital gadgets do we really need before we wake up & realize that half the world goes to bed every night with empty stomachs and naked bodies?   This question jumped off the page as I am reading the book, No Longer a Slumdog- Bringing Hope to Children in Crisis,  by K.P. Yohannan, founder of Gospel for Asia  I really DIDN'T want to read it because I knew what it was about - the horrible conditions of India for those who are called Dalits.  There are at least 11 million children who have been abandoned, 90% are girls & 3 million of them end up living on the streets.
    It is not my intent to ever judge anyone for what they have or where they are in their walk with the Lord. I simply want to encourage those of us who call ourselves Christ Followers to truly live for Him.  There is a purpose for each of our lives far beyond the comforts we have here in America.  As K.P. says, "God is sad when He sees His people living selfishly, only concerned about "me and mine."  The Lord is looking for those who will share His Heart for those who have no voice, who are held captive and oppressed."
     Whether it's giving to Gospel for Asia, Compassion International or being the Hands & Feet of Christ in our communities, "there is a special blessing for those who share the heart of the Eternal Father for His children."
     Matthew 18:10  Jesus said, "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angles in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in Heaven."
No Longer a Slumdog  the book is free and in it is a card for another free one if you pass yours on to someone else. 
Christmas Gift Catalog  give a chick, a bunny, a goat, clean water, sewing machines, blankets, Bibles, radios and more to those in need.  This is one of my favorite ministries and I let the grand-kids help pick out what we will do.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Daily Walk

     Yes, me who hates to exercise has been taking a daily walk, but it's not what you think - although I will be making EVERY effort to do that also.  What I am referring to is The Daily Walk Bible  I purchased in 1988 (36 years ago) with the help of my dear friend and mentor Karen Corcoran.
     This Bible is unique in that each day it gives: 1-Overview of what you will read in Scripture; 2-Your Daily Walk encourages you on how to apply it to your own life; 3-Insight gives historical facts to increase your Biblical knowledge.  It is written in Living Bible translation which I lovingly called Kindergarten text because I needed it in words I could grasp the meaning of.
     I must confess that when I purchased this Bible I was at the beginning of being a Christ-follower (who didn't like to read much) and so I only read what I had described in the previous paragraph. At the end of that year, I read through it again including the actual Scripture for each day.  That began my LOVE for reading. 
     I have read it off and on over the years, deciding to use it again this year. It still speaks to my heart clearly. I still learn something new as God takes me deeper into understanding of His Truth.  I will often compare it with my "main" Bible study notes, Life Application Study Bible, NIV, for even more clarity.
      Acts 20:32 And now I entrust you to God and his care and to his wonderful words that are able to build your faith and give you all the inheritance of those who are set apart for himself.
      Matthew 4:4 But Jesus told him, "No! The Scriptures say, 'People need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every word of God.' "
     II Timothy 3:16-17   All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right.  
     I would encourage anyone to use this Bible because of it's value as a devotional also.  The one I have was first printed in 1987 - but there are some newer versions set up a little differently.  I may get a newer one for 2013 to see what God will show me from a different perspective.

    For those of you who are FAITHFUL in your daily walk in the physical sense, PRAY for me that I will put that higher on my priority list.  My challenge to you is not to miss your Daily Walk with our Lord.  It truly is the best exercise of the day for our hearts and minds.  When we meet Him Face to face we won't ever have to exercise these bodies again - YAHOO !!!!!!!!  
I mean AMEN !!!!!

top photo:     bottom photo:

Friday, June 1, 2012

I Feel Good ...

Does the title bring to mind James Brown ?  I can't seem to get that song out of my head since I decided to make this post. You wouldn't think there would be a problem with "feeling good" but there seems to be for me at times.
I have been convicted that I OFTEN make an idol of desiring to feel good & I mean REALLY feel good.  I find myself annoyed with the "little annoyances" of getting older, of not having the energy I used to.  If you know me well, you know that I eat healthier than probably 90% of the people I know but exercise is another issue.  I just don't like not feeling good and being able to do all the things I used to do in a SHORTER amount of time.
The inconvenience of having sinus issues BUT I don't have debilitating asthma; not getting a good night's sleep BUT I have a comfortable bed to sleep in & I am able to get up in the morning; slight arthritis in my hands BUT I can garden, turn pages in my Bible & play games with my grandkids.  I can do all those things even when I don't REALLY feel good.  It's quite obvious things I've just mentioned are simply the my selfishness when I think of what so many people are dealing with when I look at our church prayer list.
The perfect Scripture just came to mind and Paul put it so wellI am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4: 11-13
Is there an idol in your life that God has been speaking to you about ?
(image by

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

No Comment

This is a phrase we may use when we don't want to answer a question or when the answer we might give is better left unsaid.  The Lord has been teaching me a great deal lately about "no comment."  The great thing about that is that "I get it" although it would have been greatly beneficial I'm sure if I'd "gotten it" many years ago.  
How precious is the thought that God continues to pursue our hearts to bring us into the likeness of Christ.  Although the lessons aren't always pleasant, they are worth it.  This lesson has not been painful just too long to get it.
My "no comment" moments have come about when there's a thought in my head that I "feel the need to share" but that still small Voice says, "What is your purpose for saying that?"  Well, if that prompting doesn't get your attention, you definitely are not listening.  Hearing that Voice actually makes me smile now because it brings to mind the acronym THINK.  Is it Truthful, Helpful, Important, Necessary, Kind ?  I do like to converse with others but am finding that there are things that just don't need to be said.  One of my earliest posts referenced this verse:  Be still and know that I am God.  I'm learning to be still physically more than I used to and God is also leading me to be still with my words.  The perfect thought for those "no comment" moments: May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.  Psalm 19:14

Thursday, April 26, 2012


     As our Bible study finishes up the book Unstuff we have often discussed the issue of comfort zone.  With ages ranging from early 30's to late 60's we seem to agree that we do like our comfort zones.  If we are too hot or too cold we adjust the thermostat for our physical comfort.
      What about our spiritual comfort zone?  What keeps us within the boundaries of it?   If we are unsure about some one's beliefs, we stay in our comfort zone and may not speak God's Word of Truth or encouragement to them. We don't want to be seen as intolerant or fanatical so we keep quiet.
    Yet, if we simply read the Gospels, we clearly see that the Followers of Jesus stepped out of their comfort zones and many lost their lives for it. Even Jesus, although He was God, stepped way out of His comfort zone when He willingly went to the Cross.
     I admit that I LIKE my comfort zones, physically and spiritually, and I do not always follow that Voice that tells me "you need to step out in faith."  Where is it that you need to step out of your comfort zone to make a difference in some one's life?  Simply look to the Word of God to give you the ability to do that. 
       I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.   Philippians 4:13
Image from

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Just do it !!!

     As this day of Easter is winding down, I pray you were blessed by time with family & friends & the sweet fellowship of others who rejoice that He is RISEN !!!!!  I posted this pic on Facebook with the comment: "If you know someone who still "doesn't get it", share the Good News !!!"  I also gave the card to my friend Sally & labeled her as the woman speaking. The problem is I  struggle with "not getting it" fully.  I believe we cannot completely comprehend what God did for us through the sacrifice of His Son but I know I am eternally grateful.
     So what's the issue?  Well, as I shared in my last post, I am in the progress of unstuffing but mainly in the material things & not in the use of my time.  Paul stated in Romans 7 - I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do,  I do not do....For I have the desire to do what is good but I cannot carry it out.
     Those things I wanted to do in my neighborhood leading up to Easter I did not do. It wasn't that I couldn't do it, I just didn't.  I ponder what missed opportunity is now gone that may have brought someone to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. This is the place where I am grateful that Lamentations says "His mercies are new every morning."  Easter is the GREATEST evidence that grace abounds for sinners.  May we have the boldness to make that gift known to others.  Those missed opportunities can be that moment of eternal life or death for someone.  Why would I not want to tell them?
     II Timothy 1:8,9  So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me His prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,  who has saved us & called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose & grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time...
When in doubt,  JUST DO IT, make no excuses.
(image by Inherit the Mirth)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Unstuff & Unexpected

     Oh my... it's been 2 months since my last post. Part of it has been I couldn't get back into my blog because of changing email accounts.  I had lots of things pop into my mind that I wanted to blog about but it just didn't come to pass.  There are so many things on my heart as I shared in my last post in regards to the issues we face as families and as a Nation.  I'm just not sure where the Lord is leading me.  Maybe I just need to step out in faith in one of the areas instead of doing little in any of them.
     Some of it may have to do with a Bible Study on the book - UNSTUFF - making room in your life for what really matters. I am here to tell you that for me it is an OUCH book.
   As for the book UNSTUFF, the ladies I meet with offer great insight as we range from age 30 to late 60s.  It's not just about material things because we can "stuff" our lives in other areas such as mind, love, body and even worship stuff.  So many things we are not aware of can be an idol in any of these areas. I would recommend this book if you are looking to bring some simplicity to your life - to unstuff, so to speak.
    Today I received some news that none of us like to hear.   The unexpected passing of a cousin who was more like a brother, only 3 years older than me. He has lived in Georgia for many years so we saw each other only a few times over the years. In high school, he was my hero and my "protector."  I will miss his ornery smile.  It is another reminder that the only thing we own is the breathe we've just taken in.  That gives me another reason to "make room for what really matters."  Praying that each of you will be blessed by those that really matter in your lives.
Psalm 37:4,7  Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass...Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Soul Searching

     This photo grabbed my attention because anyone who knows me well, knows that if my eyes don't have a "spark" then I don't feel good. As the title suggests, I've been doing some "soul searching" since my last post, especially this past week.  As part of that, God has been doing some "house cleaning" & healing.  I doubt that all this had much to do with the fact I turned 60 on the 9th  - it really doesn't bother me.  I actually had a 20 year old young man who has been a patient of mine since he was small tell me that 60 is the "new 40."  :-)  I'll take that !!!
     I'm learning that small beginnings are okay - that's a big one for me; that my personal one-on-one testimony of Jesus Christ, even if it is just sharing a tract, is more important that trying to organize an "event" at my church; that the closer you desire to draw to Jesus, the stronger the attack from the enemy (that hasn't been too fun); that I truly have TOO MUCH STUFF - most of us are in the top 5% income bracket in the world (think about that); that God continues to strongly impress upon my heart the need for modesty & purity, especially in Believers, & to "possibly" begin a newsletter ministry to help parents instill this Godly character in their children; and to spend more time in focused prayer.
     I spent my birthday with my dear friend & mentor of 24 years, Karen, in the afternoon & supper with my kids & grand-kids - now that's blessed. The next few days I was down & out with the sinus stuff - thought it had missed me this time - but that's often how the Lord gets my attention.  I NEED to pay better attention !!!!!  ;-)
     The life of a follower of Christ is as simple as this.  Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart & with all your soul & with all your strength & with all your mind."  Luke 10:27  Simple, yes; easy, no - "the world" is full of distractions - another area I need to work on a bit.
     So I leave you with this & hope you smile.

first image by; second image by on google images