Sunday, December 19, 2010

I have a new bloggy home!

The official launch for this site is scheduled for
January 3, 2011!

I hope you'll come by and visit soon!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Shelly Says ~ "Ignite the Passion"

Lately, God has been stirring in my heart. I was troubled by this at first.

Side Note: You may already know that I'm a photographer and that God has allowed me to take pictures for many, many years. He has even blessed me with a photography business that is solely based on word of mouth.

Earlier this year, I felt like God was saying that my photography would be changing. At first, I panicked. I thought God was saying, "No more photography. I'm doin' a new thang!" I became angry. I love taking pictures.

By the way, I have since confessed and repented of this anger.

Here's the deal though. Since then, I have come to understand that God might be changing my photography simply as I know it. : )

I believe that He is leading me into "Spiritual Photography."

While Spiritual Photography (I'm not even sure if that's a proper noun) is a very new concept for me, I understand that it's simply taking pictures of things that are spiritual.

This concept was shared with me by a new friend of mine. She said that she took a Spiritual Photography class. Interesting. A little nudge occurred as soon as she said the words.

Now, I feel like that could be how my photography is changing . . . from taking pictures of people back to my first love ~ nature ~ God's canvas!

If you're one of my photography clients, please don't panic. : ) This is not a done deal . . . just where I feel God is leading me. I wanted to share this with you today because it's such fresh, exciting news.

Just this morning, I got another nudge to get into Spiritual Photography. That's why it's on the brain.

If you're interested in viewing my work, you can visit my current portfolio by clicking the bold words.

I will keep you posted on the "nudgings."

Is God igniting a new passion in you? Is He rekindling an old one?

Spend some time in prayer today asking God to reveal how He wants to work in your life.

Tune in to that still, small voice that is nudging you towards God's will for your life.

See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)

p.s. Is it any coincidence that my "people photography" business is sooooo slow right now? This is not of my own choosing, mind you. As I mentioned earlier, my business is strictly word of mouth (no advertising). I think "God is doin' a new thang!" (anybody remember the 80's DC Talk song?!?!) ; )

Friday, June 25, 2010

Part 6 ~ Chapter 47 ~ The Final Link

Okay, I'm in tears again today. I know part of it is that our sweet journey is ending. Another part is that God is just so good!

Some of you know that for the past 20 months I've been sick on and off again with recurrent ear/sinus infections. During the past 19 months, my husband has been without a full-time job and we've struggled financially.

Well, near the beginning of these struggles, I heard a song that gave me hope and has served as a reminder through these trials.

It's no secret that the Lord speaks to me in songs and that music is a very important part of my life.

Today as I read Isaiah 40:28-31, the song Everlasting God by Lincoln Brewster immediately came to mind. When I hear this song, I am always reminded to wait on God and His provisions. His timing is not my timing, and His ways are not my ways. What really gets me, though, is that "strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord."

So, there is purpose in our waiting. ; ) There is hope in the storm! Strength is rising!

I have been in a waiting period here lately. I can feel that God is preparing me for something, but it's not quite time for a lot of action. In fact, He's been telling me to "be still and know that {He} is God" (Psalm 46:10 {emphasis mine}). There are preparations and stillness but very little action, especially when you're sick all the time.

This is a wonderful reminder today (as I was getting a little frustrated in the waiting over the last couple of weeks) that I need to be still and wait upon the Lord. He is the source of my strength, and if I look to Him for my strength... I will not faint or grow weary, but I will soar on wings like eagles!

Something very refreshing in this chapter, for me, is the nugget of knowledge Beth shares on page 273. She says, "The Hebrew word for 'hope' (KJV, 'wait upon') is qawah, meaning 'to bind together (by twisting)... to be gathered together, be joined.' "

Wow! To wait upon the Lord is to have hope in Him and draw close to Him. While I'm not perfect, mind you, that's exactly what I've been trying to do these last 20 months. Believe me when I say, there have been plenty of times where I've started to lose hope and have been grasping at straws to find hope... but I have always turned back to God. I have confessed my times of unbelief and renewed my relationship with Him. I have asked for patience and then gone back to being still and waiting; drawing close to Him as He draws close to me.

I believe God clipped my little independent wings about 20 months ago. I had plans and wanted to do all kinds of things with my photography career. I believe God knew well enough to know that I would go after those dreams with all my soul and totally ignore His plans for me.

I believe that He has a plan, a hope, a future for me and that it is far greater than anything I have ever hoped or imagined. If I had the last 20 months my way, I probably wouldn't even be writing this post. I certainly would not have gone on this journey with you. And, I'd still be in bondage.

I believe, just as He clipped my wings to slow me down and pay attention to Him, He will allow me to soar on wings like eagles when He's ready to ween me out of the little nest He's kept me in for 20 months.

I could go on and on about what this study has meant to me, but I will try to encapsulate my journey in a few sentences. I'd love to hear from you, too, about what this journey has meant in your life.

When I first discovered this book, I knew that God wanted me to study the contents, but I had no idea that He wanted me share the journey with you. I had fully prepared myself to do the study alone, in private, because I was afraid of the "baggage" that would surface. Then, I felt like God was asking me to do the study online... on the blog. I wondered why I got the nudge to start a blog : ) just a month earlier. On April 17th, it was official. I would offer the study online. Without going over all the details (because you've already read them once), I never imagined that I was still enslaved to things from my past! The unplugged part of our journey was definitely the breakthrough for me, but I am continuing to uncover strongholds. Plus, I gleaned so much from the chapters afterwards. When I had such revelations over the unplugged week, I thought that would be my highlight... BUT GOD just kept surprising me over and over as we continued the journey!

In a nutshell, I believe this study has opened my eyes to see that there were quite a few major strongholds in my life. I now have the tools and the knowledge I need to be set free!!! The knowledge has been there all along, but I finally Stop, Dropped and Payed attention so God could reveal these things to me. Since our week unplugged, I have been able to experience loose shackles in so many areas of my life!!! GOD IS GOOD!

I hope the trend continues. After a life in captivity, I'm ready for the good life... the one that is only found in God! I've tasted freedom and it is OH SO SWEET!

I pray that you are living in liberty as well! I will continue to pray for you, for the ones that are following close behind us and are almost at the end of their journey, and for the ones who will come after us and study the message of Breaking Free on their own or with their own group.

I can't wait to display His presence in my life and reflect the glory of the Lord!

I am thankful for your words of encouragement and open heart! Don't forget:

Stop, Drop and Pray. If you allow it, the Lord has a life of liberty coming your way!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Part 6 ~ Chapter 46

I had a few technical problems with the blog this morning, but it seems like everything is working fine now. I'm sorry that I'm late posting (for those of you who like reading before 8am).

I was brought to tears by the story Beth shares on page 267 in which she spontaneously ministered to a group of women in India. I think what touched me most was that Beth met those women right where they were; in a very physical sense, yes, but also in a very spiritual sense.

It's amazing, to me, that emptiness and oppression would be the common thread that wove the women of India and Beth Moore together for such a Divine Time as she described in the pages of our study.

God truly is amazing and will use our weaknesses to show off His strength!

This entire chapter is yet another that I will hold onto and come back to often. To speak of all the murmurings and messages I received from the Holy Spirit this morning would be to take up a lot of your time, but here are some highlights I'd like to share:

~ I can think of many empty places in my life that have become the enemy's playground; places in which I've allowed the enemy to have a stronghold in my soul (mind, will and emotions). I encourage you to allow God to search you and know your heart... even your anxious thoughts and your worries. Take every thought captive to Christ and mold your thoughts to His. Strive to become like Christ in every way and every aspect of your life. He will make your paths straight.

~ Walk in obedience to His will. If you don't know how, ask Him for help and then lean on some God-fearing sisters who will hold you accountable to walking in obedience.

~ "If we pour out our lives to satisfy the needs of the oppressed, God will be faithful to satisfy our needs" (page 266, Beth Moore). While it took me a a long time to grasp this concept, I believe it. I have seen it. I have felt it. God will bless those who are empty of themselves and filled with His Spirit; then, turn around to praise Him by pouring that blessing out on others! We are all called to minister, and we'd be blessed to minister to others out of the overflow God has provided to us.

~ What happens when we abide in Him? We experience the peace that passes all understanding. Hallelujah! I don't get 1/2 of what goes on here on Earth, but praise God... He blankets me with a peace and a tranquil soul when I trust in Him and abide in His Word. Sleep (rest and peace) is so sweet when we are tucked in by the Creator and Provider of the Universe and all in which it contains.

I really could go on and on... this chapter is such a wellspring of thirst-quenching truths!

Let me leave you with this today: There is hope for the circumstances you are in...

"The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail."

Isaiah 58:11

Stop, Drop and Pray for the oppressed in our world today.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Part 6 ~ Chapter 45

Written with almost uncontainable excitement:

Great is Thy faithfulness!

Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning, new mercies I see...

(from the chorus of the hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness)

and today is no exception! God never ceases to amaze me when I am still and seek His face; sit at His feet and stop to take a drink of the Living Water.

My cup runneth over this morning as I write, and as I bask in the Glory of our Lord.

After a horrible bout with the enemy, I am walking in victory and liberty this morning as I thank God for delivering me out of "my Egypt" and allowing me to see the truth in the circumstances in which I am!

All the details are just that... details at this point, and they don't really matter.

What matters is God Almighty has brought me out of slavery to the wicked ways of the world and has set me high upon a rock of revelation! I hope He is doing the same for you.

Have you tasted the honey and drank of the milk?

How refreshing is it to you, today, that God teaches us grand life lessons... using the very things satan has tried to use to defeat us?

When God gets through to you, teaching you these grand life lessons, I want you to "forget {those} former things. Do not dwell on the past" (Isaiah 43:18 {emphasis mine}).

"See, I am doing a new thing," says the Lord. "Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland" (Isaiah 43:19).

Friend, if you do not see it, I encourage you to sit at the feet of Jesus and lay all your burdens down. Cast them on Him! Tell Him your troubles. Relinquish your sorrows. Trade them in for the joy of the Lord!

He's got beauty for your ashes; strength for all the many fears you hide in your soul. He will pour the oil of gladness over your sweet head and your tears of mourning will be swept away in rivers of mercy and grace. He will robe you in a cloak of righteousness and you will sing eloquent praises... forgetting all that lies behind and looking towards the hope and the future He has planned for you.

Don't you want that? Don't you want the life of liberty God has destined you to experience?

I do!

Please forgive me for typing away this morning. I know I promised I'd try to keep these posts shorter so you can read chapters at a time and then come on the blog and discuss several chapters at a time without having to spend all day at the computer : ) .

I am just full of gladness this morning... in awe of all the things He has done. It's not that there's anything, earthly, out of the ordinary today. I'm still sick and my husband still does not have a job. Our finances are very limited and our one car sits out in the driveway (granted, I am extremely thankful that we have that one!).

I just had a REALLY good time reading Scripture this morning and was hopping all over the Bible soaking in the Word of God.

After some time in the desert, that's all you need. He is ALL I need when I'm surrounded by the throes of the enemy. ALL I NEED!

* I just realized that I'm singing Bethany Dillon's song, All I Need in my head. I just searched for the lyrics so I could show the reference, and lo and behold... it's my song today! In the second verse, she even says:

When the morning comes
And Your mercy is renewed
There's a fire in my bones
I'm not afraid to go alone
You're all I need

I couldn't have said it better!

It's rising up all around!

Can you feel it?

The anthem of the Lord's Renown!

Holy is the Lord, God, Almighty!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Part 6 ~ Chapter 44

In Chapter 44 Beth Moore says, "... any benefit missing in our lives is an indicator of a stronghold, an area of defeat."

She's referring to the 5 benefits of a covenant relationship with God, and Beth also helps to answer a question I was asked very early on in our study: What exactly is a stronghold?

The quote above adds more insight to the definition we discussed. It's easy to recognize a stronghold when we look at areas of defeat. How simple is that?

What strongholds are currently in your life?

What/Who is the desire of your heart?

Stop, Drop and Pray that you may be a witness today.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Part 6 ~ Chapter 43

Do you display the beauty of the Lord?

Do you sit at His feet every day and walk away reflecting the beauty of His glory?

Are you an oak of righteousness planted by the living waters?

Do you love the Lord God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength? (see Mark 12:30)

Stop, Drop and Pray. We're on the final stretch!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Part 6 ~ Chapter 42

This is another "WOW" chapter for me and one that I'll refer to frequently! The final illustration to "bow thought to the truth" (Beth Moore page 246) completes the extreme makeover I described in the last post.

With vibrant paint and/or updated wallpaper in hand, lovingly apply truth to the primed walls of your soul. When truth covers the walls, your thoughts become captive. * Remember the 1st illustration Beth Moore describes on page 243? The skeleton figure was captive. And, in the last illustration (page 246), the thoughts are captive.

Stepping back and allowing God to do a holy makeover in your mind takes you from "Captive" to "Captor." Hallelujah!

The last paragraph on page 248 is one that I encourage you do highlight and/or copy and post somewhere you'll see it often. It is the study of our last couple chapters in one paragraph. It is a great reminder on how to renew your mind.

What are your thoughts on renewing the mind? Is this something you struggle with or do you have some tools/tips you could pass on to the rest of us? Please do, share!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Part 6 ~ Chapter 41

This is the concept, in my own words, that I walked away with from Chapter 41:

Allow God to do an amazing makeover in your mind (soul). You start the process by stripping the walls of your mind that are covered in layers and layers of leaded paint (ie, toxic thoughts) and/or 80's wallpaper (ie, ancient thoughts that keep you plastered in an era of sin).

Now, if you need help, just ask God to empower you with the Holy Spirit at work in you. He will do it!

Do not leave the walls of your mind bare. It is imperative that you not procrastinate; however, you must move on quickly to the next step.

Then, prime the walls of your mind with the TRUTH! This is a simple, yet often overlooked step. Pick up the Sword of the Spirit (the Word of God), search for the truth, and apply it liberally.

Next, DO NOT allow the enemy to go shopping with you for the new paint and/or wallpaper. If you let satan pick out the colors and/or pattern, it will look good in the store. BUT, when you get it home you'll realize you made a big mistake. I can promise you anything he picks out will not look good in that beautifully renewed, perfectly primed soul of yours.

*** If you fall prey to the enemy while searching for new wall coverings, a refund is just a prayer away. You don't even have to go back to the store. Just get on your knees. God will honor your refund request with or without a receipt. Sweet Mercy!

Finally, apply a fresh coat of vibrant paint or that updated wallpaper...
it sounds like we'll be covering (ha... pun intended instead of deleted) that step in the next chapter. ; )

I am so full of love and freedom this morning! I hope and pray you are, too!

Anyone for a shopping trip?

Stop, Drop and Pray... Then SHOP! we've got new wallpaper/paint to pick out today!