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Some Free Advice

Posted by Shelley on Jun 13, 2007 in bible study

This person didn’t ask for my help but I gave it to him anyway.

A couple of years ago I was at home, doing whatever I do at home. The doorbell rang. A modern day traveling salesperson was there at my door washing the glass door with some extraordinary cleaner that he just knew I needed. He was young, well dressed and absolutely working his hiney off.

He was excited as he cleaned my glass door for free. Giving me the salespitch and absolutely throwing himself into his work it was hard to say no. But I did.

“You are absolutely one of the best people to stop by my door and try to sell me something. I understand, I have been in sales, too and I appreciate what you are doing. YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB! I don’t need your product right now but I PROMISE if you keep doing what you are doing up the hill and down the street YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE SALE. Just not to me.”

Was that mean? I don’t think so. He really was doing a good job. I told him so. But I really didn’t have time or interest in his product. I knew, however, that in order for him to keep going he needed to know that he was doing a bang up job and his next sale was right around the corner. I sure hope he kept going. He probably owns the traveling glass cleaner store by now.

Why do I share this with you? Because if someone is trying to sell you something and you don’t want it please tell them no. If they are really cut out for the job, they can SO take it. If they can’t take it they either need to personally develop into the the kind of salesperson who can accept a “no” or find a new job.

And you can have that advice for FREE!

 
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We’re Only Here for a Little While

Posted by Shelley on Apr 29, 2007 in bible study

My poor family has endured my love of country music for quite some time now. The kids, even the little 2 year old, will tell me, “don’t like it mommy” although he WILL know who Dolly Parton is before he is 3 years old. Melodi knows who she is… she even has the classic song “9-5″ stashed on her shuffle mix (we all agree that is a GREAT song).

Okay, so country music is a little different… but you can always count on it to tell a story. I am not a deep person so having something completely spelled out for me is really okay. The biggest problem I’ve had is when country music stars decide they need to reinvent themselves… take for instance Garth Brooks. I was a devoted fan until he came up with some alter ego and made an album completely under a different name. Mike defended him to an extent, something about artistic creative rights and abilities… I just got plain mad. Don’t get me started.

But last week, listening to a gospel/country station (yes, it’s cruel but when you’re in my car you are subject to many, many radio stations) I heard an oldie but a goodie. Take out the steel guitar and just read the words and let them soak in for a minute. I’d say Billy Dean hit the nail on the head. Are you holdin’? Are you mendin’? Are you walkin’ though it means an extra mile? Cause like the song says, we’re only here for a little while.

Today I stood singin’ songs and sayin’ Amen, Saying goodbye to an old friend who seemed so young, He spent his life workin’ hard to chase a dollar, Putting off until tomorrow the things he should have done, Made me start thinking “What’s the hurry, why the runnin’? I don’t like what I’m becoming, gonna change my style. Take my time and I take it all for granted, Cause we’re only here for a little while

 
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Putting Things in Perspective

Posted by Shelley on Apr 19, 2007 in bible study

Luke 18: 27 He replied, “What is impossible from a human perspective is possible with God.”

This week has been all about perspective. The culmination of many events, both in the world and in my personal life, have helped me find a place to compare something to other things so that it can be accurately and fairly judged. Allowing myself to think about a situation or problem in a wise and reasonable way has always been tough for me; but as Jesus states in the above verse, with God’s help whatever seems impossible from our point of view can be entirely possible in and through Him.

 
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Here’s a Riddle for You

Posted by Shelley on Jan 22, 2007 in bible study

Three frogs were sitting on a lily pad. One of them thought about jumping off. How many frogs are on the lily pad?

Did you say two? Look again… thinking about doing something and actually doing it are two different things. Looks to me like there are three frogs on the lily pad. I am happy to say I am actually meeting more people who take the jump. Sometimes the stuff they are jumping to makes no sense but at least they are moving. Following through on a thought can get you in a heap of trouble. Or it might just be the best thing that ever could have happened. The point is you never know if you are just sitting around thinking about it. Sometimes you just have to do it.

 
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Shake Hands With Yourself In 5 Years

Posted by Shelley on Jan 13, 2007 in bible study

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

2006 has been a wonderful year. Lots to remember, not much I want to forget, although because of the way my brain works I will forget much of it… just ask my husband who has to remember everything for me!

A new year gives us all a new start. If you are like me there is some goal in mind that when achieved will give you the feeling of success. The above verse captures this worldly idea of success and combines God’s integral part in it. However, instead of success, the word masterpiece is what the writer of Ephesians uses. Think of what reminds you of a masterpiece… an artist using various mediums, brings it all together and it is becomes such. What are you doing in 2007 that will allow you to become God’s masterpiece and possibly make you want to shake hands with yourself in 5 years?

We know as Christians that even our very best will never truly be the masterpiece of success that can stand in front of God. Filthy rags are what we have to offer… without being created anew in His son, Jesus. Accepting Jesus and allowing Him to fill in our gaps is what God’s measure of success will be. Take a step in the direction of trusting. learning, and cultivating yourself into that masterpiece. It is likely the result will be who you would want to shake hands with in 5 years.

 
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Mercy, Hope and Patience

Posted by Shelley on Nov 29, 2006 in bible study

My aunt had a saying, it was “I want patience and I want it now!” You gotta love it. We live in culture that breeds impatience. In fact, I missed the sermon Sunday morning at HSBC (www.hsbc.org) and guess what I missed… a sermon on patience! No problem, I thought, I’ll be a real 21st century student of the Bible and listen to it on the podcast. I got up on Monday, went to the library (you know, I really was trying), sat down with the Hoover Library wi-fi and guess what, the podcast wasn’t in yet… therefore, even in the point and click world sometimes it just isn’t fast enough (right Ebay bidders)? I was disappointed because surely God wanted me to listen to some wisdom on patience. Or maybe He just wants me to dig a little deeper?

So, I go back to the basics. Paper. Digging through paper, no invisible lines or connections, just the basic pulp stuff that seems to overrun my house. I found what I was looking for which is no small miracle.

I participated in a study on the Fruit of the Spirit and learned that the patience noted in the familiar Galations verse is of the mercy kind. Makrothumia: patience with people, inspired by mercy. The other kind is called hupomone which is biblical perserverance or endurance, which gives us the word hope.

Now, I will attempt to explain from my bible study text why the makrothumia is the fruit of spirit kind of patience. When it comes to prioritizing between circumstances and people you agree that God will choose people, right? That fruit of the spirit kind of maturity comes from dealing with people… not your circumstances. Why? Because God demonstrates this kind of mercy with us on a regular basis. He values my growth and character as a person far above the convenience of my circumstances. Basically, responding with patience to circumstances is far easier than with people. We need to respond with hupomone when some circumstances are trying us; we need makrothumia when someONE is trying us.

The bible is full of hope, which qualifies it as something for which to pray. I actively ask God for endurance and perserverance which I am privileged to tell you He delivers. He’s always on time with an added dose of hope which inspires perserverance.

As for this mercy thing, I’m struggling. But when I think of the kind of mercy he has shown me I am reminded that what He is asking of me is certainly nothing that He hasn’t already asked of Himself. So, I conclude by telling you that if I have ever demonstrated patience with you it is of the supernatural kind. Which is really what the fruit of the spirit is all about… a supernatural ability to be different in the same situation. To God be the glory, great things he hath done!

 
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Mountains and Valleys

Posted by Shelley on Nov 8, 2006 in bible study

A long time ago I read in Oswald Chambers’ book, My Utmost for His Highest, a couple of sentences that reminded me what it’s really all about… I wrote this down and have carried it around with me for years.
We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff we are in, and that is where we have to prove our mettle. The moments on the mountain tops are rare moments and they are meant for something in God’s purpose.

The last couple of weeks through a series of events in my life I discovered where Mr. Chambers might have gotten his perspective… found in 2nd Samuel, Psalms and lastly in Habbakkuk. It is a passage repeated three times in the Bible which helps me understand only in the Lord is a mountaintop truly achievable. Our mettle in the valleys is where He enables us to go to the top.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. Habbakkuk 3:19

Deer are typically seen in the valley or forest, running across highways and currently in my backyard. They have special feet which can make them very graceful and speedy to go up high when neccessary. We are deer, proving what we were meant to do down here in the valley. As believers, when we move to a mountain it is God who enables us to get there gracefully and sometimes quickly to claim HIS glory while we are there.

I’ll add that Habbakkuk verse to my index card with Oswald Chambers quote. It just makes perfect mysterious sense to me.

 
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Super “Natural” Glue

Posted by Shelley on Oct 23, 2006 in bible study

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

Colossians 1:17

If you are having a come apart day like I’m having I simply remind you of this: YOU are not the super-glue! HE is! So stop trying to keep it all together without His help. Christian wife/mom/sister/daughter/ lesson 101… start your day with him (before all things) and He will help hold all things (mainly, yourself) together.

 
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Beauty Advice

Posted by Shelley on Sep 9, 2006 in bible study

A quick word search on the word radiant consistently pointed out definitions involving light, brightness and even splendor. My husband further pointed out the significance of a radial beam, which means something circular, even reflective (and a bunch of other stuff that had to do with computers)… this word has been imprinted on my heart and mind for so long I knew for me it had much more to do with something else I needed to understand.

The etymology of the word further confirmed the significance of Mike’s interpretation because of a synonym; if you will – resplendent, meaning to shine back. Now, we can all be radiant. Goodness knows with a credit line big enough becoming beautiful or confident is affordable. But that’s not what this about. I want to be resplendent! I’ve never even heard of that word til just now.

Because of the middle English and Latin history of the word I began to realize the root word splendor. Now I don’t know about you but the only reason I use the word splendor is to describe our Heavenly Father. I can honestly say I’ve never used it to describe my lovely children or devoted husband. And I can surely say most of us women wouldn’t use it to describe ourselves either. Well listen up.

The Lord intends for you, dear sister, to be resplendent. I am sure of this. Two verses confirm this message He intends for me to share with you. We do just about anything in our culture to be beautiful. But if we take ourselves out of this temporal place and look to what our Eternal Father has to say about this you will find being beautiful is simply radiating back to him the likeness of Himself.

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. Psalm 19:8
Who is like the wise man? Who knows the explanation of things? Wisdom brightens a man’s face and changes its hard appearance. Ecclesiastes 8:11

I promise I am qualified to speak out on this. I spend a great deal of my time worrying about what I look like. It has been very freeing for me to understand some real beauty advice… the commands of the Lord can improve the wrinkles and dark circles around my eyes? Wisdom from God can change my appearance? You might want to say I’ve taken this stuff a little too far but so far I have found no ingredient in my present beauty regimine that promises me to become resplendent. That kind of radiance can only come from the daily walking I do with the Holy Spirit. Join me on this walk and let’s encourage each other that we are radiant and full of splendor because we are SAVED! I know someone reading this needed to hear that just now. Thank you Jesus, for becoming the ugly face of sin and death so that we can radiate back to you your glorious splendor.

 
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Humble Pie

Posted by Shelley on Aug 24, 2006 in bible study

I’ve noticed a trend in my life, like the past 34 years or so, that I keep having to learn the lesson of humility. So, I go where I go when I need to understand big words and concepts. The Bible and Merriam Webster. To be honest, the fact I started cringing at what the word really means gave me a huge breakthrough… I’m still eating humble pie so to speak.

After God used the book of Daniel to make his point to me today I sort of started feeling a little bit like King Nebuchadnezzar. Chapter 4, beginning in verse 28 is where my Bible sort of fell open today. Don’t you love it when He just turns the page for you? I can honestly say though, that before this happened, I began my day praying he’d give me an answer to what He was trying to teach me. I read beginning in verse 28 and realized the King basically was turned into an animal-like creature, eating grass while his hair turned into feathers an his fingernails became birds’ claws (v. 32). I turned the page and their it was written in my own handwriting, “Either humble ourselves or He can humble us.” Looks like the King received the latter.

Ouch. My toes are killing me! Here’s what the dictionary says: Main Entry: hu·mil·i·ty:
the quality or state of being humble. Great, that told me nothing. So I went to the word humble:

Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin humilis low, humble, from humus earth; akin to Greek chthOn earth, chamai on the ground; 1 : not proud or haughty : not arrogant or assertive; 2 : reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission ; 3 a : ranking low in a hierarchy or scale : INSIGNIFICANT, UNPRETENTIOUS b : not costly or luxurious

Everything about that definition is the opposite of us humans. We aren’t born submissive, we don’t actively pursue being the low man on the totem pole and for Heaven’s sake we are all about costly and luxurious. At least most of us (ME included)! God has placed before me numerous lessons in humility. A baby sister (not just one but two!), lots of tryouts and auditions, job interviews, personality tests, four-legged animals, credit scores, doctors, friends, my own children… the list goes on and on. Just when I think, yes Lord I am humbling myself to be what I need to be, another lesson comes my way.

Out of my Bible it states the New Testament meaning is primarily a personal quality of dependence of God and respect for other people. It is a God-given virtue of holy living; humility comes not from self but from God. The result should be praise of God, not praise of (wo)man. I’m headed to the doctor for my son’s checkup right now, I think I’ll have him check out my toes too. Maybe just one more serving of humble pie and these toes won’t get stepped on so often.

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