WHAT IS THE BIBLE TO YOU

open bibleI could not adequately describe to you what the Bible means to me. For to do so I would have to tell you my life story with all of its crazy twist and turns. And that would take hours upon hours to lay out before you. If you will allow me to try, here is my best effort.

God’s Word was practically unknown to me up until the of age fourteen. Though I remember going to a Baptist church when I was a little girl. Occasionally on Sunday morning my mother would dress my sister and me up in dresses and send us out the door to walk to a church about 5 or 6 blocks down our road. We would hear stories about Jesus and do little Sunday school papers. I do not really remember the stories, just bringing home the papers. There was an old brown piano and lots singing but don’t remember the words either.

I first clearly heard the Gospel while in a canoe on a lake, from my Uncle, while attending a summer church camp he and my aunt were assisting at. He told me the story of how Jesus gave his life for me, for my sins. He asked me to accept him as my savior. I prayed the prayer. I believed with my head but am still unsure to this day I believed with my heart at the time. Though it was the first knock at my door, from the Lord, He continually pursued me for years. At times He was close enough for me to hear his whisper of love but other times I would not know or care where he was.

My Aunt and Uncle had given me a bible I would pack around throughout my life. I would read the handwritten inscription which would nudge me to read a verse here and there but would never read the whole book. It was special because it was a gift. I treated it as a memento to save not “a prescription for life” as my Aunt and Uncle referred to in their words written to me on the inside page. I had not realized how big a gift it was until years later when I heard God’s voice again beseeching me to come unto him. It was loud and bold this time. So loud, in fact, I could not resist it.

There are times in life when the rug is pulled out from underneath you. You fall with a thud. You are in shock from the impact and confused as to why or how you ended up there. And that is how it was with me. I was not sure what to do or where to turn. And this is when God whispered, “I am here to pick you up.” It was a whisper heard through the words of a friend. “Michelle, maybe you need God.” I heard it but I did not know how to reach out to Him. In the pain and heartache, I experienced, I just began to move forward out of necessity for my children. And in moving forward, I had a desire to go to church for the first time in my adult life. Strange things began to happen. He immediately opened doors I would have never walked through and met people I never considered speaking to about God.

He orchestrated a new life that I never imagined for myself.  One day I found myself sitting in a church, hearing a preacher say I have to know that I know that Jesus saved me.  And before I knew it I was rising to my feet walking down an aisle surrendering my life to the one and only, Savior, Jesus Christ. I finally believed in my heart what was believed, in my mind, those many years ago.

I opened God’s Word to read the instructions that would put my life back together. His words would lead me down paths I never knew existed. His Word saved me and inspired me to make changes for the good. It would give me breath when I could not breathe on my own. It would give me a song when all I could do was cry. It would bring me comfort when sorrow weighed me down. His words gave me knowledge and wisdom when I felt helpless and ignorant. They would give me hope when I was in the rut of sin and I thought my failure would end me. God’s word became the light of a path that was dark and unknown. It would become the lifeline to sanity from the midst of confusion. It was a rope to freedom from the discouragement of life.

His word was the love I desperately craved from youth. It was the hope I cringed at in darkness for fear it was not real.  It was the rescue I cried out for in depths of grief. It was the fresh air I gasped for in days of panic and fear. It was the enveloping hug in the silence of loneliness. It was and is the personal note, letter, and poetry from the lover of my soul!

Little did I know that that words inscribed by my Aunt and Uncle would become prophecy. For God’s Holy Bible is indeed the prescription for all my illnesses and problems, keeping me healthy and happy! And the best news of all, I will live forever with Christ in Heaven!

Dear Shelly,

This Book is a prescription for life. Take a little every day. If you’ll follow the instructions you find it will cure all illnesses and problems you’ll ever have. It will make you very happy and healthy and you’ll live forever. 

With deepest love, 

Pat and Gail

gift bible 1976

Ready or not….

road and sunsetI know it is late but I just wanted to share a thought and a prayer I been praying. I am still dreaming the dream, God knows what it is! (will share more later)  I have prayed and asked Him to stir my heart and awaken my soul.  To show me the next step in my walk with Him.  This season of my life has not been full of turmoil and stress as the past has been but it has been one of restlessness.  I believe God is wanting to make changes within me, to clean out the cobwebs of the past to make room for a new story in my future.

These past few years have been about transition.  The transition from a single mother to a married woman, to a married ‘couple’ again.  I had not really thought much about what that was going to look like when I embarked on remarrying my 1st husband.  I was very caught up in the story God had presented in the form of restoration and healing within our family.  So now I have had time to settle in, reflect and catch my breath.

The restlessness that has slipped into my heart and mind have left me at a loss of identity.  My husband travels sometimes for his job.  In being separated from him I find I am at a loss for direction and focus.  In discussing this with a close friend who has also remarried after having been a single mother for many years, we both have determined that in the two years we have been remarried our husbands have managed to untangle us from the  independent, self-sufficient, organized women-on-a-mission selves that we used to be.

How is that even possible? Make no mistake I am not complaining, it is a good thing.  A good thing to be a help-mate, one with another soul and a partner in all sorts of fun adventures.  God has given me the gift of loving another person completely and having that given back to me in return.  He has allowed me the privilege of watching my husband grow in the Lord.  Most importantly allowed me another chance of showing the love of Christ, through my marriage, to my children.  Even though three of the four are grown and living their adult lives, it is NEVER too late!!!

So imagine my concern when I can not seem to focus or find the direction I need to be going in with my Lord.  I know it is as simple as trusting in Him.  Seeking Him in prayer and waiting on Him.  And I am doing that albeit the restlessness.  So far I believe He wants me to make some changes starting in the month of November.

1) Finding balance in my thought life –  Romans 12:1-2 has always been one of my favorite verses and it often comes to my mind when I struggle with my thought life.   But balance?  What does that actually mean?  I believe it means that we can often place too much value or emphasis on what we are thinking.  For instance, there was a time when I first became a Christian that I was learning about the enemy and demonic activity. I was learning many scriptures and listening to many preachers who ‘specialized’ in the subject.  I found over time that I was beginning to see demons behind every rock, every conversation and every action of others.  I myself was becoming fearful and legalistic in my prayers and words. God had shown me at the time that while it is important to understand the enemy and how he works we are not focus on him.  We are to focus on Christ and be aware of our enemy.  We are to trust Christ and stand in faith and take Christ at His word.  People can believe in God but not believe Him.  Believing in God is just the first step to liberty.  True liberty is when we believe what God says is absolutely true and then walk in that truth.  When I realized my thought life was skewed I began seeking the truth in God’s word and godly counsel.  In a short time I was back in balance.  By bringing my focus back to Christ I, again was walking in peace and liberty with my Lord.

2) Seek God’s direction in the dream I am dreaming – Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” another verse that I have practically ate and slept with many times is Proverbs 3:5-6  “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”  I have always loved the fact that God put an ‘s’ on the word path, meaning He is multi-tasking on our behalf.  So yes, I am dreaming a dream. One I have had for many years but now is becoming more vivid.  I know it is in front of me but I also know that God has not given permission to move forward, so I wait on Him.  It is a matter of His time!

3) Surrender my body and will to God – wow, this is a big one.  You may think you know what this means by reading it but believe me it entails quite a bit of hard work.  Weight loss and health.  I know what I need to do but my legs and mind are not cooperating.  God convicts me and shows me where I must make the change.  I have made attempts but I have to admit they are half-hearted.  God will not stand for this long, I am sure.  He loves me too much to let me just ignore this.

So this is where I am.  Standing here with eyes looking up. “God you know I love you, I believe you and I really want your power on my life.” All the while I am thinking, I know what this is gonna mean.  More surrender, more trust and more lessons.  Those of you who have followed my journey on here know I have come a long way and have seen God do some great things.  I can not even begin to tell you how overwhelming it is to know the God of the universe has already given me soooo much!   This blog is where the dream started and as usual, I can not imagine what He has in store.  I can imagine it won’t be anything I am able to do without Him.  So here goes nothing….

“God, I am ready.”

Stay tuned!

grace to you,

shell

Seeing The Beauty of Bitterness

You know God has your attention when He keeps revealing the same theme over and over to you.  Through His Word, songs, messages, devotions, others observations and through dreams.  I can not escape it, especially when I ask Him to reveal truths to me.  Just as David says in the Psalms 139

1O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.

 2Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

 3Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

 4For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

 5Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

 6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

 7Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

 8If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

 9If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

 10Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

He knows me, He knows how to speak to me, He knows how to comfort me and He knows how to inspire me.  No human on the face of the planet knows the intimate details of who I am and what makes me tick.  I have been asking God to give me perspective on a thing in my life.  I want to see the good He is weaving through it.  I want to see the glory in what He is going to do in it.  I came into to work today and was flipping my devotional calendar to today’s date and when I read the words I just got the biggest grin. 

“It is nothing short of a transformed vision of reality that is able to see Christ as more real than the storm, love more real than hatred, meekness more real than pride, long-suffering more real than annoyance, holiness more real than sin. ”

We have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16

taken from the devotional calendar of Elisabeth Elliot ‘You Are Loved’

That is exactly what I have been asking God for.  A new perspective.  A new way to handle the hurt of old re-opened wounds.  He never fails.  Love never fails.  You know why Paul said we see  through a glass darkly?  He meant we would not see a full complete picture of heaven until we go there, until our body dies and our soul is set free to enter the gates of splendor.  Here on earth we feel the downward draw of gravity, the pulling of our sickness to the earth.  For out of dust we were created and to dust will we return.

 

Enduring pain, suffering persecution or tolerating annoying interruptions in our life is not enough to allow Jesus Christ to work through us, we must accept it as a gift, embrace it as a tool and offer it up to God as a living sacrifice.  It is then that we shine like the lights that God tells us we are.  The purpose? 

To turn water into wine, beauty in ashes and bitterness into the sweet smell of praise to God.  Who loved us before we loved Him. 

Close your eyes and take a deep breath.  Pray:  “Thank you Jesus for what you will do in my life today as I lay my life down, give me strength to withstand the temptation to demand my rights, give me wisdom to know where the turning point is, from left to right and most importantly help me to surrender in death to self for Christ’ glory!” Amen! 

Grace to you ~

shell