Wednesday, February 12, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  One-on-one interactions and relationships are where I thrive.  As much as I would like it to be, our world doesn’t consist of just one-on-one relationships.  We’re all an integral part of society.  When people know that you’re a Christian, they watch you and are taking notice of how you act and react in situations.   I used to volunteer with a high school youth group and we had this one individual that had a pretty foul mouth.  When she would say a cuss word, I started yelling “Foul ball!”.  The first time I did that everyone just looked at me strangely.  The second time, they started to pick up on why I said it.  It took a while, but the foul balls became less and less.  One day that individual came up to me and said “My friends notice that I haven’t been cussing as much and wanted to know what was going on.”  So, she explained what had happened in our youth group.  She then said that her friends weren’t cussing as much either.  Isn’t it amazing how one small action can create a far reaching ripple effect?  Making a difference in our world doesn’t have to be some huge monumental situation.  Let’s face it, very few of us will have that kind of opportunity.  More times than not, our opportunities will show up as small, barely noticeable items.  That single drop of water that grows into a ripple.

In Matthew 25: 31-40 Jesus clearly states what mercy looks like.  Feed the hungry.  Give drink to the thirsty.  Welcome a stranger.  Clothe the naked.  Care for the sick.  Visit those in prison.  Let’s take a slightly different look at these merciful acts.   

Feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty:  Maybe what they hunger and thirst for isn’t physical, but hunger for the Word of God and thirst for streams of Living Water.

Welcome a stranger:  There are many people in this world that feel invisible and completely alone.  I encourage you to make eye contact with someone.  Smile and say “Hi”. 

Clothe the naked:  Think about all the clothes you have packed away in your house that you haven’t worn in months or even years.  How much of a difference could it make to a single mom if she was able to go to a thrift store and purchase an outfit that she could confidently wear to an interview?  It could mean the difference between getting that higher paying job, so that she could better care for her child, or not.

Care for the sick:  That includes boo boos, life threatening diseases and those fighting to break the chains of depression, alcohol and drugs.

Visit those in prison:  Don’t forget the elderly that can no longer drive themselves around town.  Their homes can feel like a prison as they wait day after day for a visitor to come.

To make a real change in this world, mercy (meeting a person’s need) and justice (addressing the cause of the need) must go hand in hand.  For example, mercy is giving a food basket to a family in need.  But justice aims to determine why this family is hungry and addresses the factors causing that need.  Be a joyful witness for Christ in all you do.  Show others that your source of strength and zeal comes from our Lord.  Bless others and be blessed.

#CastingCrowns – Courageous

#Courageous – the movie

Follow-up to Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Christ’s peace be with you. After reading the Wednesday, February 5, 2020 😎🐫🎤 message, a follower and coworker stopped by my office Friday morning and said that I needed to read the Our Daily Bread message for Friday, February 7, 2020. At the end of my work day instead of just jumping in my car, I decided to pause a moment with God and read the message that was lovingly passed onto me. It very much so touched my heart, so I wanted to share it with you. Does what we do matter? I’ll let you decide that for yourself. Thank you friend for being a smiling face and blessing for me. Bless others and be blessed.

https://odb.org/2020/02/07/working-for-gods-glory/

#OurDailyBread

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  In two weeks it will be one year that I’ve been at my job.  I’ve been told repeatedly, by multiple people that for those who are willing to stick it out, it will take about five years to become comfortable in this position.  It’s been extremely challenging for me, being that I feel like I’m not serving my customers as timely, completely, and confidently as I want to be able to serve them.  I don’t know, maybe deep down I figure the more hours I put in, the sooner I’ll get to the five year comfort level.  The problem is, I’m having a very hard time allowing myself to walk away from my work.  I work late almost every day.  I work at home at night.  I also work on the weekend.  My mental and physical wellbeing are out of balance.  I’m pretty sure that’s because I’m working instead of taking the time to go on hikes in nature and clear my mind.  It frustrates my husband.  My mother-in-law tells me I shouldn’t work so much.  “I know.  I know.”  I was talking with a friend about it Monday and it seemed like without hesitation she said “How do you reconcile that with God?”  Oh, that one hurt.  As so often the truth does, when we have chosen not to face it.  It’s sad to say, but it can be easy to blow off those around us, thinking they will always be there.  I feel better mentally, physically, and spiritually when I take the time to walk in nature.  And it also clears my head so that I can be more mentally available and present with those that I’m with.  The Holy Spirit and I have our greatest conversation in nature and I’ve really been missing that this past year, along with missing time with my husband, family, and friends. 

I don’t think anyone likes waking up all hours of the night and early morning thinking about all the work that still needs to be done.  I’m kind of feeling like a body that’s growing too quickly and ending up with some permanent stretch marks.  I need to give myself permission and allow myself to grow a little at a time, so that I’ll be more balanced, pliable, and won’t leave a trail of damage in my wake.  You may find yourself in a similar situation.  How can I allow myself to be filled with Him, if I’m always overflow with work?  I’ve decided that I need to free my mind of the pressure I’m putting on myself.  Regain the balance between my personal and work life.  And allow the Healer to be what fills my life, not work.  Bless others and be blessed.

#MercyMe – The Hurt and the Healer

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  2 Kings 4: 1-7 shares with us a story of trust. 

The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”  Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”  Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few.  Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”  She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring.  When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.” But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.  She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”

We’re kind of catching this story in midstream, so we don’t really know what all this widow and her sons have tried to keep themselves afloat before she cried out to the man of God.  Maybe he was her first thought, or maybe he was her last resort.  Either way, she opened herself to his words, then she and her sons without question did as they were instructed.  First, they sought the assistance of those around them, family, friends, neighbors.  Having a strong community of believers that we can turn to in our times of need is extremely vital.  Second, the boys gathered all the empty jars their community had to offer and presented them to their mother.  Third, the widow allowed the oil to flow until there were no more jars to fill.  As a reward for her trust and obedience, their debt was paid in full, plus additional money to live on.  I can’t help but think if we would empty ourselves and come to the Lord with the support of our community of believers and prayer warriors, how He will fill us to overflow with all we will ever need in this life, plus that which will help fill other’s vessels.  But first we need to trust Him with ALL of our empty vessel.  Our entire being and all the different aspects of our lives.  How can you possibly overflow with Him if you aren’t bringing your family vessel to be filled?  Maybe you brought your family vessel, but left your work vessel at work.  So maybe both of those were filled, but you didn’t trust the Lord to fill your finance, friendship, faith, or action vessels.  Can you see how until you trust the Lord and present Him all of your vessels, you will always walk away feeling empty?  Like the widow’s small jar of oil, the Lord’s grace, peace, forgiveness, presence, gifts, and glory will only stop flowing when we stop presenting our emptiness to Him to be filled.  It’s hard to receive something if you don’t have anything to receive it into.  Present your entire self as an empty vessel for our Lord to rest within.  Allow yourself to be overwhelmed and overflowing with Him.  Bless others and be blessed.    

#HillsongUnited – New Wine   

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  What’s your favorite season?  I imagine your mind immediately went to spring, summer, fall, or winter, right?  But what about the seasons of life and work?  Seasons of joy, pain, relationships?  Seasons of growth, journey, and rest?  Seasons of highs and lows?  Seasons of purpose, on top of the game and those seasons of feeling unnoticed and worthless.  There are a great variety of seasons that we work through in our lives and journey with the Lord.  Sometimes we just need a Spiritual shot in the arm to propel us into the next season of our journey with the Lord.  Within the Catholic church, we have a variety of seasons…Advent, Christmas, Lenten, Easter, and Ordinary Time.  Yep, you read that correctly, Ordinary Time.  Well that sound exciting, right?

Two Sundays ago kicked off the season of Ordinary Time with the Gospel of Matthew 11: 25-30.

At that time Jesus said in reply, “I give praise to You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although You have hidden these things from the wise and the learned You have revealed them to the childlike.  Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.  All things have been handed over to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal Him.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

On the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time we heard from the Gospel of John 1: 29-34

The next day he (John the Baptist) saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.  He is the One of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because He existed before me.’  I did not know Him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that He might be made known to Israel.”  John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon Him.  I did not know Him, but the One who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, He is the One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’  Now I have seen and testified that He is the Son of God.”

We’re only two weeks into Ordinary Time and already the Lord has offered to reveal Himself to us if we simply come to him with childlike faith, not to be confused with childishness.  It is the Son who first desires to reveal Himself and all His gifts and grace to us before we even know of Him.  If we choose to evenly yoke ourselves with the Lord in meek and humble service, we will find work with Him isn’t such a burden and He will give rest that no other can provide.  I have to tell you, Baptism is my favorite sacrament to witness.  For me, it brings with it an overwhelming joy of knowing that the Holy Spirit has been gifted upon and into the life of a person.  Although we are not always ready to accept or even realize that when we receive the Holy Spirit at Baptism, that is our ordination into discipleship.  To paraphrase John, “I did not know Him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that He might be made know.”  For being in a season of Ordinary Time, it sure feels extraordinary.  Let the living, true word of God be the extraordinary in your ordinary seasons of life.  Bless others and be blessed.

#JeremyCamp – Living Word     

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you. What will it cost you to spend time with Christ?
Luke 9:57-62 tells us:
As they were walking along the road, a man said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” He said to another man, “Follow Me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

This week I’ve been faced with a situation that took me out of my normal routine and placed me in unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory. When faced with situations like this, it’s so easy to want to run to the familiar and comfortable. The three men that Luke mentioned were faced with similar situations. Keep with what you know or embrace the unfamiliar and leave what you know and love behind. What’s behind door number 1? Oh if we would only be willing to open that door and step through. Think about the incredible gifts and experiences of walking with Jesus that those men denied themselves, because they were maybe afraid of the unknown and wanted to keep with familiar and comfortable. I’m very thankful that the Lord “nudges” me when I’m frozen with fear and unwilling to move on my own. We only have so much time to choose to join and experience a real relationship with our Lord and we should not let anything stand in the way. Don’t put off unto tomorrow what should be shared and said today. Bless others and be blessed.

#Unspoken – Light That Never Fades

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Day 2 – 6 of 2020 I spent working through an intestinal virus.  No fun, right?  Thursday was no doubt the worst of it.  Every 15-20 minutes something was coming out.  I remember thinking…”I’ve got to make sure I keep liquids in me so I don’t end up dehydrated and in the hospital.”  So, every time it came out one end, I was pouring more into the other end and ate a saltine cracker.  My body was achy.  I had the worst headache I ever remember experiencing.  I could barely move…until I had to make the mad dash. 

An intestinal virus doesn’t sound like a great way to start a new year, but God was speaking through this and took the time to share with me.  First and very important, stay hydrated!  As work, chores, projects, commitments, family, and friends draw from you and drain your live, you need to keep hydrated.  Every time you turn on the spigot and allow your life to flow, you need to return to Me, The Well of Living Water and be replenished.  I need to preface this next part with…”Hi, my name is Shelly.”  (Hi Shelly)  “If I weren’t married, I would be a workaholic.”  Three of my five sick days, I didn’t think one bit about missing work and how it would be piling up.  Talk about a freeing three days.  My body may have been taking a beating, but God was freeing my mind from worry, stress, and pressures I put upon myself.  I felt so relaxed.  Oh, I can’t forget the weight loss.  Heck with dieting and exercise.  One good intestinal bug every now and then will put you a month ahead of your weight loss plan.  Returning to the office Tuesday, I felt good physically and mentally.  I felt relaxed, refreshed, and refilled.  Who would have thought?

John 4: 1-26 (NIV)  Jesus Talks to a Woman at the Well

The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples.  When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.  Now he had to go through Samaria.  So He came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.  Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as He was from the journey, sat down by the well.  It was about the sixth hour.

 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)  The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman.  How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.”  “Sir,” the woman said, “You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can You get this living water?  Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”  He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”  “I have no husband,” she replied.  Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”  “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

Jesus declared, “Believe Me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When He comes, He will explain everything to us.”  Then Jesus declared, “I, who speak to you am He.”

Bless others and be bless.

#CastingCrowns – The Well

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you. Happy 2020 and welcome to the official launch of our blog and website.

Looking back at 2019…it’s been a year filled with growth and challenges like I haven’t experienced in quite awhile. I’m really not one to set new year resolutions, so when a friend asked me at the beginning of 2019 what my resolutions were, I said…I have one goal, to design a calendar and have it ready by the end of September. I missed the September deadline, but the 2020 Moments Matter calendar was completed. Truth be told, I don’t make new year resolutions because I don’t want to speak them out loud, have someone hold me accountable, and then feel like a total failure when I don’t follow through. But it was different this time. I found myself telling multiple people throughout the year about this goal. The more people I told about it, the more I believed it would happen.

Although my goal was rather small and in all reality not a very big challenge, He moved my life in mighty ways throughout 2019, one step at a time to accomplish this goal. But that wasn’t the end. He was just getting started. He used that one goal I chose for myself as a spring board to multiple projects that He had planned for me, that I wouldn’t have fathomed last January. If I would have known what was in store, I imagine I would have felt overwhelmed, maybe frozen in my tracks, or defeated before I even began.

Earlier this week I read 1 Kings 8, Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the temple they build for the Lord to reside in. 5 of the 12 paragraphs in Solomon’s prayer were asking the Lord to forgive the people for their future faults and sins. We will all face faults and sins in 2020. If you’re really good, you might even get through one day without sinning. There are just so many ways to turn our backs on the Lord and our neighbor. Maybe a goal for 2020 would be to purposefully, once a day, catch yourself before you get to far down that dark road of sin and turn your steps back toward The Light. Think about that…365 less sins this year. 365 times you choose to hug the Lord instead of hurting Him. 365 more smiles on your face. 365 steps further into your journey with the Lord. Every moment you choose to turn from your sin, He is right there to wrap you in His loving embrace. Our God is such an incredibly loving friend. How could He use a goal like this springboard you into some incredible adventures in 2020? Bless others and be blessed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nq0wRhdxpPA

#HawkNelson – Just Getting Started

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you. Today our Savior is born! Alleluia Alleluia!

Saturday morning I was sitting in the woods on a hunting trip with my husband and stepson. I was sitting on a small camp seat facing south and up hill along a deer path. Brian was on my right, sometimes sitting on the ground and other times standing while facing north toward the creek. Chris was on my left 20’ in the air on a tree stand, also facing south and up hill near the deer path. We were all in a straight line with only about 200 yards between Brian and Chris. After being in the woods about four hours, we decided to call it a day. Chris had seen 5 deer. Brian saw 10-12. But I didn’t see any. At one point Chris said “You didn’t see that doe standing about 50 yards right in front of you in the field?” Nope, not at all. Chris also pointed out that, “You can see so much more when you’re higher up, looking down.” Brian reinforced that thought when he said he only saw the deer when he stood up.

Our line of sight and perspective play a big part in how we see and view life around us. Like this sign, life may sometimes seem upside down and a bit out of order.

Now, allow yourself to refocus your gaze into the water. Do you see it? The sign can be read perfectly. When we allow ourselves the grace to take a moment and refocus our gaze upon Christ, our Living Water, He will allow us to see more clearly the truth this world tries so desperately to disguise. Where will you allow your focus and gaze to take you this Christmas? Bless others and be blessed.

#CastingCrowns – While You Were Sleeping

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you. I was taking a three day class at work last week, that’s building up to a weeklong class in January. At one point in this class I said to myself something that I’m sure we’ve all heard at some point…”Knowledge is power.”  But then I quickly backed that up with…”Actually knowledge is freedom.”  To which God replied…”Yes, knowledge of Me is freedom.”  Knowing Him, we don’t have to rely on our own flawed interpretation of power. He is the source of perfect power.  Not a let Me lord this over you kind of power, but one of peace and comfort knowing that you are secure and protected in His presence. 

We are just one week away from once again celebrating the birth of our Savior.  It’s not a pleasant thought to consider the bloodied Calvary cross at Christmas, but that’s where His power shone the brightest. This Babe was gifted to us to journey and walk with us for the purpose of shedding His blood to redeem our souls. Thank you Lord for such a beautiful and powerful gift. Bless others and be blessed. 

#RendCollective – Your Name is Power