God Holds Us Close

Many of you know that my precious Dad (Elmer B. Shellenberger) passed away a month ago. He was almost 93.

He was my hero.

When I was a little girl, I asked him to build me something:

“Daddy, will you make me one of those things that people stand behind when they speak?”

“You mean . . . a podium?”

“Yeah, that’s it.”

“Honey, why do you want a podium?”

“So I can speak, Daddy.”

I watched as he gathered some old wood and during the next week carefully constructed a little three-foot-podium that I could stand behind in our garage

I gathered all the kids in the neighborhood and they piled themselves between bicycles, basketballs, hula-hoops and skateboards in our garage while I stood behind my little pint-sized podium teaching them the stories of the Bible. Ha!

I have a lot of great memories of my dad (and also my mom who passed away in 2003), and I’m grateful for those.

But in the midst of wonderful stories, the path of grief remains.

Even though both parents are in heaven, I miss them on earth.

Many of you have lost someone through death, and you know first-hand how difficult the path of grief is.

I rejoice that we serve a God of extreme comfort.

He often comforts me through His Word.

He reaches right through the pages and holds me tightly in His arms.

That’s why I’ve attached this illustration today.

I want you to visually SEE what we can FEEL when we literally saturate ourselves in His Word.

 

Thoughts?

 

I’m speaking in Fortville, IN this weekend.

I’d sure appreciate your prayers.

Outside the Box

One glance at the Grand Canyon, a laughing hyena and Niagara Falls shows that we serve a God of creativity. And because HE is creative, He loves to pour His creativity into His children.

Check out one of my favorite Scriptures from the Message:

“Live creatively, friends.

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.

Don’t be impressed with yourself.

Don’t compare yourself with others.

Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life” (Galatians 6: 1; 4-5).

 

What happens when we allow God to lead us outside the box?

“Promise Keepers” happens.

“Women of Faith” is launched.

“Passion” conferences” explode.

Hillsong goes global.

Revival sweeps through churches.

 

If we become spiritually comfortable, we grow stale. In fact, we can get so comfortable that we stop stepping out in faith to take risks that we easily took in earlier days.

God wants to use us!

But if we aren’t living in obedience to Him,

He’ll easily find someone else to do the job.

He’ll find someone who’s willing to step out in faith.

One who believes faith and risk often go hand-in-hand.

He’ll use someone who’s willing to think outside the box that we’ve become trapped in.

Yellow Cab could have created Uber.

Hilton could have created Airbnb.

ESPN could have created Bleacher Report.

Wal-Mart could have created Amazon.

So why didn’t they?

They became comfortable where they were.

And now—those who were willing to think outside of the box—are giving them a run for their money!

Let’s not make the mistake of becoming too comfortable.

“Live creatively, friends. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life” (Galatians).

 

Thoughts?

 

I’ll be speaking seven times in Leesburg, VA, this weekend and would appreciate your prayers.

Let’s Cry About It

The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah

demonstrated

exemplified

and

illustrated

Christ.

Both were rejected and mistreated.

Though Jeremiah’s story can be depressing,

it CAN encourage us.

 

He was called a liar, (Jeremiah 43:2) . . .

was left in the mud at the bottom of a well to die . . . (Jeremiah 38:6), his Bible was burned (Jeremiah 36:23) . . .

he received a death sentence (Jeremiah 26:11) . . .

and he was beaten and put in stocks (Jeremiah 20:1-2).

 

No wonder he was called the “weeping prophet!”

I’d blubber like a baby if I were in his shoes.

But Jeremiah wasn’t weeping for himself!

He was weeping for those who had rejected Christ.

He was broken-hearted for the lost.

 

When was the last time you wept for someone who doesn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?

 

Let’s ask God to break our hearts for the lost.

Jeremiah experienced rejection and a lot of suffering.

But he kept preaching to those who refused to listen.

We can, too!

 

Thoughts?

 

 

I’m speaking in Naperville, IL this weekend.

Will you pray for me?

He Is With You

Has it been a rough week?

Do you need some encouragement?

 

“The One who formed you says,

‘Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.

I have called you by name; you are Mine.

When you go through deep waters,

I will be with you.

When you go through rivers of difficulty,

you will not drown.

When you walk through the fire of oppression,

you will not be burned up;

the flames will not consume you.

For I am the Lord, your God,

the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Do not me afraid, for I am with you’”

(Isaiah 43:1-3; 5 NLT).

 

My precious Dad entered heaven this week. We had his funeral
service today. He was ready for heaven! And I’m so grateful for the
wonderful spiritual heritage he left me.

 

I’m speaking in Salem, OR this weekend and would appreciate your prayers.

Come Back Home

I had been speaking for about a week and a half and was glad to be home. All was perfect: My two miniature Schnauzers were happy Mama was back and Amos had curled his body into a tight little ball in his doggie bed while Obie was nestled underneath a blanket on my lap as I relaxed and watched a little TV.

When I got up to get some munchies, Obie ran outside. I came back and resumed relaxing thinking he was curled next to Amos. About half an hour later, my doorbell rang. Who could be on my porch at 8 pm? I thought. It was totally dark and cold outside.

I turned on the porch light, opened the door and was greeted by my neighbor and friend Mark who was holding Obie in his arms. What?

Mark laughed and said, “Melissa and I were watching TV and looked up to see Obie staring at us from the patio.”

Obie had dug underneath the fence between our yards and decided to visit the neighbors.

I scooped the little furball into my arms and said, “I didn’t even know he was gone! Thanks so much for bringing him home.”

Allow me to state the obvious: Sometimes we tend to wander spiritually—but it’s such a slight detour that we don’t immediately realize we’re not where we should be.

I’m so thankful for a loving heavenly Father who will scoop us in His arms, invite us in from the cold and bring us right back to where we need to be.