Hanging in the Balance

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Even though my life hangs in the balance, I’ll keep following what you’ve taught me, no matter what. Psalm 119:109, TPT.

Maintaining accurate buoyancy in Scuba diving is vital to the quality and safety of your under-water experience. If you have too little weight, you will float to the surface and miss seeing the colorful reefs where the sea life thrives. On the other hand, if you have too much weight, you might sink to an unsafe depth that could lead to decompression sickness or death.

Unbalanced thinking leads to binary thinking that’s not healthy for a growing Christian. You risk skimming the surface or you sink and get stuck at the bottom of the ocean, unmovable and missing out on God’s best life for you when you limit your thinking.

We live in a world that is uncomfortable with uncertainty. We like everything to be black and white. You’re either a Republican or a Democrat, a rule follower or a rule breaker, a dog lover or a cat lover. We want things nice and neat; simple and clean. It makes us feel in control and secure. But that’s not how life works.

The Bible is very black and white on specific issues like the Trinity and salvation. You either believe and receive Jesus as Savior into your heart or you don’t. Some areas on living righteously before God are grey.

In Matthew 15, Jesus rebukes the Judea Pharisees for condemning his disciples for not observing their tradition of hand washing before meals. He knew they were missing the point. Tradition was not given for legalistic purposes, but to bring people into the presence of God.

Jesus then challenges the Pharisee’s to look at their transgression of refusing to honor their parents by declaring all their resources a gift to God. They used tradition to dishonor God’s command, suit their own purposes, and exalt themselves.

The tradition of holy communion is powerful for me because it reminds me of the restoration available to me through the blood Jesus shed on the cross. It builds my faith.

Tradition can be both bad and good when applied in certain ways. Discipleship is both easy and hard. The Kingdom of God is both now and future.

Balanced and healthy thinking comes from a humble, teachable heart that seeks God’s revelatory wisdom above all. We’ll be secure in truth when Jesus restores everything on earth as it is in heaven. In the meantime, we’re called to love God and people. This is what Jesus taught and modeled for us foremost.

Ponder: What have you always assumed to be true because you were simply taught it was right, or you read something into scripture that wasn’t there?

Pray: Holy Spirit lead me into all truth when I have questions. Give me scripture to back it up and a heart to understand your heart in the matter. Grow me up in my ability to think, feel, and act in union with your will.

God’s Simple Grace

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There’s no where I’d rather be,

Then in your grace eternally.

When I sleep and awake,

You’re always near,

Assuring me not to fear.

I simply hear,

“Be at peace my daughter,

And watch my grace flow with ease.

For when you are at rest in me,

You will see my grace flows best through thee.”

You extend your hand through mine,

To bring love, healing, and wholeness,

To those who will grasp hold of it.

There’s nothing I must do,

But keep on loving you.

It’s my hearts desire,

To feel my soul on fire.

This is a case for simple grace,

Through knowing Christ intimately.

Mother

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Mother

I shudder to think you don’t know me.

You now live in a different time and reality.

I was once your daughter and friend,

someone you would occasionally confide in.

I do my best to remain an optimist;

but as each day draws near,

sometimes I shed a few tears.

The mother I knew has died inside.

Alzheimers has changed your whole countenance.

It’s eating you alive–body and soul.

You try to hide and deny this ugly disease.

But it emerges like a monster in the sea,

bearing waves of pain, anger, and anxiety.

I know one day, I will awake

to find you free from this life of misery.

You will be alive and well again in eternity.

And when I get to heaven’s gates,

You will smile and welcome me,

as your daughter and friend once more.

You Are, Because I AM

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I wonder…

Am I an artist?
Can I create art that captures the spirit and soul of creation;
Something that speaks to you in a meaningful way,
To comfort you and brighten your day.

Am I a writer?
Can I find my voice and write so I’ll be heard.
Will my readers identify with me,
And yearn to know God more intimately.
Will you see my heart and hear my pain,
But understand healing and wholeness are possible for me and you.

Am I a speaker?
Can I speak honestly and openly with love and grace.
When I look at your beautiful face,
Can I speak into your destiny,
Or will I hesitate because fear of rejection looms over me,
Like a dark cloud obstructs light,
And casts shadows upon my mind.

And then I hear His whisper,
“You are, because I am;
Therefore, you certainly can.”

I Still Believe

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Photo Credit: Greg Shrader

I still believe in the sea of humanity,

Where people dwell in peace and humility.

I still believe in sunrises,

Where hope abounds, 

And truth shines bright,

And people break free from misery.

I still believe in the beauty of diversity,

Where open ears and hearts join together,

And respect one another,

Where judgement dies,

And love abides.

I still believe in a better world 

For both me and you.

If not now then later,

When Jesus is adored,

And the world restored.

Like a Breath of Fresh Air

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When I need inspiration, you God, are there like a breath of fresh air.
Ideas begin to flow as I let go.

When I need encouragement, you God, are there like a breath of fresh air.
Negative thoughts melt;
Truth takes root in my heart.

When I need joy, you God, are there like a breath of fresh air.
You fill my senses and soul;
I smile knowing I’m not alone.

When I need direction, you God, are there like a breath of fresh air.
Intense impressions stick to my mind,
And you give me a sign that everything is fine.

Soul RX

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Dear Me,

Is that you? It doesn’t feel like you. Loss and loneliness linger, trying to drown you in sorrow and swallow you up. You think of yourself as a piece of washed up driftwood waiting for somebody to pick you up.

Your spirit and soul cry out to God. You pray. You look. You listen. You act. He comes to rescue you.

Music plays. You slip away with your paint and canvas in hand to a vibrant, colorful land. Each brush stroke brings emotional release. Your heavy heart lifts, and peace prevails.

You don’t see progress, but you sense it deep within your soul. Your mind and body are at rest. That’s progress. It’s found in the process.

My 2020 Christmas Letter

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I entered the new year like many of you—with lofty aspirations. I sought to fulfill my bucket list and write. My husband and daughter accompanied me to an Introduction to Handguns, followed by a couple of dates at the firing range. I finally gained enough confidence to apply as the newest angel at Charlie Townsend’s Detective Agency. Ha, ha! Then, BAM! COVID-19! 

I  also set out to prayerfully write a devotional book. However, discouragement and depression drained my ambition by July. If only I could be a prolific writer and spit out books like Stephen King, right?

I’ve found myself wrestling with a myriad of doubts and disappointments. Haven’t you?

In spite of dim circumstances, COVID-19 stirred me to question and seek God about almost everything.  He began revealing Himself to me on a deeper level—layer by layer. As a result, my thinking is changing about God, myself, and others.

Here are some priceless gems I learned during a divisive and challenging year:

  • Love is self-sacrificing and trumps all for the common greater good of others.  Wearing a mask and social distancing is something I choose to protect others and reduce the spread of a life-threatening virus.  It’s not something I want to do, but I love you. You might say, “But it doesn’t work.” But what if you’re wrong?
  • Disagreement is inevitable. Having a different perspective and/or belief as others, doesn’t give me or them the right to judge or criticize. We’re all in this together.  My job is to love.
  • Your political party affiliation doesn’t determine your status as a Christian. God does!
  • God is in science. He created it to complement His nature.
  • Things are not always as they seem because the spiritual realm dictates our natural realm not the other way around.
  • I am a citizen of His Kingdom, a polar opposite world order than this earthly one. Therefore, I must be diligent and protect my mind and heart by cultivating my relationship with Jesus and seeking His heart and mind first. 

I hope my vulnerability inspires you, and you find peace and joy in the presence of Christ.

May your hope and expectation be set on Jesus this Christmas and in all the years to follow. He’s coming again. The government will rest on His shoulders. He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end (Isaiah 9:6-7; NLT emphasis mine).

Behold the Lion! Can you see Him now? The one who triumphs over all evil and makes all things new!

Wishing you all a beautiful Christmas filled with awe and wonder of Him.

In His extravagant love,

Shelley

The Christmas Star

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The Christmas Star

Shined bright to guide and protect that Christmas night.

It reminds us of hope bursting forth

changing our life’s course.

For without “The Light of the World”,

We would not have abundant life

Or experience perfect love from our Father above.

We remember that divine star.

And from afar, we hear Him call our name

And say, “I will heal your pain.”

Strength for the Soul

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Strength isn’t measured by the muscles we flex or the masks we wear,

But by conceding and meeting with He who knows the brokenness we hide.

When we rest and depend on Him, He breathes into us His life.

His thoughts and feelings trickle in and transcend our flesh.

We no longer strive, but thrive!