Field Notes From A Prayer Warrior

Open…

-For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. –Hebrews 4:12 -The clouds poured down water, the heavens resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth. Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked. Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. –Psalm 77: 17-19 Last night I was ripped out of sleep by

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Wind and clouds…

-God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any of us. –Acts 17:27 -“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you

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Prison break…

-About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. –Acts 16: 25-26 -On June 12th, 1999, I married my wife Kim. I stood in front of friends and family, witnesses and God, and declared that I would love her and be faithful to her, for better or worse, until death do us part… It was a one-time decision. But that was

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The perfect job…

-“The perfect job is a myth. No job is perfect, and no career path is without its challenges and setbacks. Even if you land your ‘dream job,’ you’ll likely find that it’s not exactly what you imagined it to be.” –John Lovig, linkedin.com -What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for

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The Diet Coke of Christians…

-How long, Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?…Turn and answer me, oh Lord my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die! –Psalm 13: 1,3 -“Because you’re not quite evil enough. You’re quasi-evil. You’re semi-evil. You’re the margarine of evil. You’re the Diet Coke of evil. Just 1 calorie. Not evil enough.” –Dr. Evil, talking to son Scott -“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” –Matthew 28:20 Do you ever feel like your faith has abandoned you? Scratch that… Do you

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Lazy friends…

-“…the harsh reality (is) that replying to your BFF’s Instagram story doesn’t count as catching up. I’ve done this for so long that it’s become a guilt-inducing normality for me–the lazy girls guide to friendships. I want to connect more, to have a real conversation beyond the somewhat vapid small talk and reactionary comments, but I find excuses. ‘I’m too busy,’ is a classic lie I often tell myself. ‘I hate talking on the phone’ is another. There may be a little veracity in both of these excuses, but I fear the truth is, social media has made me a

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Breath…

-This is what the Lord says–the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it… –Isaiah 42:5 -…since He Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. –Hebrews 17:25 *The following is a condensed chronicle of an eleven-year journey. I give the Lord all the glory…and all my gratitude.* I’ve skipped through giant swaths of my life taking my health for granted…despite constant reminders… “Health is wealth.” “At least I have my health…” “All

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A love story…

-She: My beloved is mine and I am his; he browses among the lilies. Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the rugged hills. –Song of Songs 2: 16-17 Stop me if you’ve heard this one before… There’s a girl living somewhere in Smalltown, USA. It’s a simple life. A good life. A happy life. And she’s got a wonderful guy. But…the world outside comes beckoning, and she answers the call. She leaves for the big city, and all it has on offer. Soon she

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Side by each…

-side by each (colloquial expression, origin Quebecois): next to each other; side by side -By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me–a prayer to the God of my life. –Psalm 42:8 -In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly. –Psalm 5:3 Ah, the new year… A time of reflection, and, maybe, resolutions… Habits to drop, practices to add, routines to establish… Before us, a giant clean slate the size of 365 days (oops…366 in this case!). So, on the first of January

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Proof…

-“Prove to me that God exists.” Prove to me that He doesn’t. –field notes, 2023 -“If you can understand it, it’s not God.” –St. Augustine -Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. –1 John 4: 7-8 -And when you really analyze fear you realize, first, that it is only a natural part of us. And second, that it is the sister of hope. Because both are born from the uncertain fabric of

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Bill…

-service: the action of helping or doing work for someone; contribution to the welfare of others; a period of time spent in the military -“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” –Mark 10:45 -Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. –1 Peter 4:10 In loving memory of Bill Plumb February 22, 1928-December 30, 2015 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His

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Clunkers…

-“The Chevrolet Corvair…the most dangerous automobile on the road…” –“Unsafe at Any Speed” by Ralph Nader -“Ralph Nader, kiss my rear-mounted engine!” –teenage Shelbo -But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. –2 Corinthians 12:9 I drove a lot of old clunkers in my youth, and, you know, they all had their flaws…those unfixable, unchangeable quirks (a sticky ignition switch, a whistling vent) that became “aftermarket options.” These could’ve been

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Closure…

-closure (psych.): a feeling that an emotional or traumatic experience has been resolved -Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. –Romans 12:19 -But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today

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Talkin’ to the Cottonwoods…

-Around me the trees stir in their leaves and call out, “Stay awhile.” The light flows from their branches. –“When I am among the trees” by Mary Oliver -Their massive size makes them out of scale for all but the largest landscapes. –“Planting Cottonwood Trees” from gardeningknowhow.com -“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water, that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of

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Enough…

-Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon Your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since You have spoken to Your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” –Exodus 4: 10-11 -“…give us this day our daily bread…” –Matthew 6:11 -…give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough

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Loneliness…

-Went to church today. It was like Noah’s ark…the animals come in two by two. Except for me. –journal entry, 2016 -Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, couldn’t put Humpty together again. –British nursery rhyme, 1882 -Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart, and free me from my anguish. –Psalm 25:16-17 Divorce. In the leadup, the process, and the aftermath, two prevalent emotions are anger and loneliness. Anger, for me, is ever

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Cleaning house…

-So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. –1 Peter 2:1 -“…Then it (impure spirit) says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean, and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition is worse than the first.” –Matthew 12:44-45 -Nature abhors a vacuum. –Aristotle -Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all

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Best Life Coach ever…

-Reality, you are the only thing standing between me and a perfect life. –field notes, 2023 -For I have the desire to do what is good, but I can not carry it out. –Romans 7:18b -Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by Your truth and teach me, for You are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in You. –Psalm 25: 4-5 In June I was up in prayer, asking God for help with this blog…specifically, to guide me toward a practice of dependable,

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Sacrifice…

-…that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God. –portion of the Oath of Enlistment -Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. –Ephesians 6:13 -“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and

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Traffic…

-Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. –Colossians 3:2 -Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. –Romans 12:2 -Me: Be kind, you never know what someone is going through. Also me: Nice turn-signal, $%#@%&!!! –popular meme Traffic. Ugh. The Achilles’ heel of my faith walk. It’s all joy and Jesus’ light until I get behind the wheel, and then…uff da…all bets are off… Someone changes lanes, almost shearing off my front bumper…another weaves, attempting to text and drive…a jam at a random, non-rush hour time of

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From a dark place…

**I was reminded of this “field note” the other day…in a random/not random way. It’s time to share it. -I love Your voice, You have led me through the fire; in darkest night, You are close like no other… –“Goodness of God” -Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. –Psalm 23:4 -In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. –John 1:4-5 From my journal-January, 2018: “When you come from a dark

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Pause and pray…

-Is prayer your steering wheel, or your spare tire? –Corrie Ten Boom -Sometimes God says, “No.” Sometimes God says, “Slow.” Sometimes God says, “Grow.” Sometimes God says, “Go.” –Greg Laurie, among others -…We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? –Romans 6:2 I stood there, contemplating something…”quasi-dishonest.” Yeah. I’d rationalized that the prescribed, “expected” approach was going to involve some cost and inconvenience…that could be completely circumvented with just one “inconsequential” action…no muss, no fuss…right? The Holy Spirit responded with some serious nudging… “It’s stealing. It’s unethical. It’s taking advantage. It’s using

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How did this happen?

-“The bad stuff is easier to believe. You ever notice that?” –Vivian, “Pretty Woman” -I trusted him to be honest. He wasn’t. I trusted that he loved me. He didn’t. I trusted that he would protect me. I didn’t realize that he was my biggest threat. –journal entry, 2018 -Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always

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Friends…

-We can talk with God just like we do with a friend. As if He’s sitting right next to us. –Adam Weber, “Talking with God” -The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear Him and He makes known to them His covenant. –Psalm 25: 14 -Friendship is a verb. –Shelbo’s field notes, 2020 -“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” –John 15:13 My friend Darla and I lived on farms about a mile apart outside the booming metropolis of Grand Forks, North Dakota. We carpooled to school, games, dance clubs,

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Trail guide…

-trail guide: someone who assists others as they travel to reach a destination on a path across a wild region over rough terrain -Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. –2 Corinthians 1:3-4 -In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. –Proverbs 16:9 I was born, it would seem, to be a morning person…usually up at

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Perfectly imperfect…

-Instead of aiming for perfect, try aiming for great. –Tony B. -And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. –Romans 8:28 -“…God will use you, this God will use all of you, and not just your strengths, but your failures and your failings. Your weakness is fertile ground for a forgiving God to make something new and to make something beautiful, so don’t ever think that all you have to offer are your gifts.” –“Accidental Saints” -For You created my inmost being; You

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Come as you are…

-Jesus extends acceptance and kindness first. He never says, “First clean up your act, then come to me.” Rather He first says, “Come.” –hopeline.com -“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” –Matthew 11:28 -“How’s it going, Jerry?” “Not too worse!” –my dad -Farm workshop facilities: A workshop provides a focal point at the farmstead for the repair and maintenance of machines, implements, and structures. It also provides a place where tools can be stored in an orderly manner, a store for supplies and spare parts, and a shelter where work can

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Arms open…

John 3:16–For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. Matthew 28:6–He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. From “Good Enough” by Kate Bowler–“So, blessed are we then who have been excluded, shunned, or forgotten, for there is One who knows us and loves us and walks among us. We know that we are not alone.” I know that I am not alone. The Lord has been with me…in the darkest valleys of my life… I was rejected, not

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I “tried” Jesus…

–“No! Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.” -Yoda –You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. -Jeremiah 29:13 –“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” -John 15:9 People will say, “Don’t talk to me about Jesus. I tried Jesus. Didn’t get me anywhere.” And I think…”Tried Jesus?” What does that look like? Like a kid taking one bite of something, screwing up his face, and pushing the plate away? Or maybe…like the first time I had coffee in Europe. I

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Timing…

Psalm 27:14–Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord. Romans 12:12–Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Ecclesiastes 3:1–To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. Time. A blessing among so many others from our Father. In 2009 I was in a car accident that should’ve killed me, according to every earthly authority involved. But God had other plans, and since then, every morning, I open my eyes and thank Him for the gift of another day. That being said… I often want the timing

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What’s next?-Part Deux

*I had the honor of being asked to do the opening for our amazing Community Bible Study. Several members urged me to publish it as a blog post, so here it is, in all its perfect imperfection. I pray that it will inspire and encourage whoever needs it. 1 Corinthians 3:7–So neither the one who plants or the one who waters is anything, but only God, Who makes things grow. “So…what’s next, Lord?” I asked on that walk in France, September, 2017. In a span of three months my world had blown up, leaving me divorced, retired, and relocated across

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A reluctant activist…

activist: a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change –Me: I always wanted to be a cheerleader. –My fiance John: You are…you’re a cheerleader for God. As the Lord’s servant, you must not quarrel. You must be kind toward all, a good and patient teacher, who is gentle as you correct your opponents, for it may be that God will give them the opportunity to repent and come to know the truth. –2 Timothy 2: 23-25 I don’t consider myself an activist. If someone has a cause that speaks to my values, beliefs, and heart, I will

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Seek…

Beauty is one of the richest graces God has provided to heal our souls and absorb His goodness…You don’t need to travel far to find beauty. God has strewn it around the globe in such generous portions we have only to stop and notice. –John Eldredge, “Get Your Life Back” The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. –Psalm 19:1 My heart says of You, “Seek His face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. –Psalm 27:8 Out of ordinary days come moments where the loving awesomeness of God softly pierces you, shining through

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Valentines…

Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. –Psalm 55:22 “I’m surprised. God is not.” –text from my friend T By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me–a prayer to the God of my life. –Psalm 42:8 Valentine’s Day. For God it’s not just one day. He is sending us valentines continually… through His Word… through the words and deeds of others… through extraordinary moments in the ordinary routine… and through His presence in our prayers. On Saturday, a person from my past

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The newfound me…

Romans 6:21– What benefit did you reap at the time from the things you are now ashamed of? For some reason this verse is really sticking with me today, Lord. I think about college, and when I was about as far from You as I’ve ever been in my life. I knew my Shepherd, but I insisted on wandering off. I was set on finding my own way. I was working all those jobs to pay for school, and I would tell people that I worked hard and I played hard. So the answer to the question in the verse…

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Defiant joy…

defiant: full of or showing a disposition to challenge or fight; boldly resisting “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” –Matthew 11:28 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. –Romans 15:13 November, 2015. Every Christmas is different, and that year’s was going to be…a very “different different.” My father had passed away that September after a long battle with cancer, the last two months in a hospital

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Meetups…

Why are cell phones so great at connecting us when we’re apart, yet so effective at disconnecting us when we’re together? –journal entry, September 2022 …let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith… –Hebrews 12: 1-2 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. –Philippians 4:8 Have

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To love the unlovable…

“According to 1 Corinthians 13, believers are to love the unlovable. We are to love people who do not appreciate our love, do not reciprocate in kind, are demanding, and think of themselves as entitled.” –David L. Goetsch May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. –1 Thessalonians 3:12 “Dere’s good in everybody.” –Grandpa Gordy Thompson Eighth-graders… the most awesome, delightful, frustrating, confusing, challenging people you’ll ever meet… And that’s just the first hour. Each morning, as I marched into the middle school, I carried the

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Clean Slate Club…

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. –Proverbs 16:9 “It’s a new dawn, It’s a new day, It’s a new life…for me… And I’m feeling…good.” –“Feeling Good” by Nina Simone In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. –Psalm 5:3 For most of my adult life I looked at every day as a “do-over.” No matter how much I’d messed up, or missed my goals, or frittered away the gift of time…the next day, and the next, and the next, was a

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The Real Deal…

“the real deal” (def.): genuine, authentic, worthy of serious regard Walt Kowalski (to Father Janovich): “Well, I think you’re an overeducated 27-year-old virgin who likes to hold the hands of old ladies who are superstitious and promises them eternity.” –from the movie “Gran Torino” He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious

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Bulletin boards…

…”Woe to me! The Lord has added sorrow to my pain; I am worn out with groaning and find no rest…” –Jeremiah 45:3 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. –Colossians 3:23 Let us not grow weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don’t give up. –Galatians 6:9 “So, I’m an easy-going person. I don’t complain about the stuff

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Pleasing…

“I’m definitely a people pleaser. I like people to be happy around me and be comfortable. I go out of my way, sometimes to a fault, to make sure everyone is okay.” –Ken Jeong Shelbo, be still, shut up, and know that I am God. –from my journal And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. –Hebrews 11:6 “Hi, my name is Shelbo, and I’m a people pleaser.” “Hi, Shelbo!” It took me decades to figure out how detrimental

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Fight or flight?

derecho: a large fast-moving complex of thunderstorms with powerful straight-line winds that cause widespread destruction “Oh, hear my prayer tonight, I’m singing to the sky, give me strength to raise my voice, let me testify. Oh, hear my prayer tonight, ’cause this is do or die, The time has come to make a choice… And I choose joy…” –“Joy” by King and Country May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. –Romans 15:13 Sioux Falls just had

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Failing…

“For I hold you by your right hand–I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.’” –Isaiah 41:13 In falling, in failing, we rise. –journal entry, 2018 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. –1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 In falling, in failing, we rise. I remember one of my last therapy sessions with my ex-husband. The decision had been made to start mediation. He said, “I feel like a failure.” To which I replied, “You are not a failure.

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Bully…

bully (noun): a person who habitually seeks to harm or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable “…Whenever I see black and blue, I feel the past, I share the bruise With everyone who’s come and gone My head is clear, my voice is strong, now I’m right here to right the wrong…” –“Bully” by Shinedown Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,

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Seek shelter immediately…

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” –Joshua 1:9 I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me. –Philippians 4:13 For over all, His glory will be shelter and protection: shade from the parching heat of day, refuge and cover from storm and rain. –Isaiah 4:6 I was making dinner… BRRRRAAAACK! BRRAAACK!!! BRRAAAACKK!!!! “Attention. Attention. This is an emergency. Severe weather approaching. Seek shelter immediately…” Heart thudding. Mouth dry. “…in…Sioux Falls…at… approximately…5:05…PM.” Check clock. 4:55. Sprint to

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Judge much?

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” –Matthew 7: 1-2 Learn to relate to others through My Love rather than yours…Let My Love envelop your outreach to other people. –from “Jesus Calling” With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. –James 3:

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Game on…

“Is that all you got? I’ll take your best shot…” –“Boom” by POD “Success on any field starts with faith. Faith in yourself. Faith in teammates. Faith in coaches. And in my case, faith in God.” –Kurt Warner Through You we will push back our adversaries; through Your name we will trample down those who rise up against us. –Psalm 44:5 Just like that, it’s over. Another season. Another Super Bowl. Aka “The Big Game.” Sigh. But take heart…there’s another Big Game! This one doesn’t happen once a year…but Every. Single. Day. The stakes are much higher…it’s not just a

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The grave…

There ain’t no grave can hold my body down When I hear that trumpet sound I’m gonna rise right out of the ground –“Ain’t No Grave” by Johnny Cash “Don’t worry about the numbers. Just preach.” –from a sermon by Pastor W. Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’…” –Matthew 22:37-39 It was looking pretty bleak for the Shelbo, down there in the grave. No one had arrived

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Another step…

“And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” –Matthew 6:12 “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” –Matthew 5:44 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. –Romans 12:21 One of my sisters-in-Christ is in a bad situation right now, precipitated by a woman who has committed various misdeeds against others as well. This morning I was lifting it up in prayer and… BAM!! “Tell ‘M’ she needs to forgive and pray for this woman.” “Oh, man, Lord, that’s gonna be a tough piece of

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Inflatable Faith…

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.” –Luke 2:10-11 inflate (synonyms): fill up, billow, expand, amplify, magnify… May all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; May those who love Your salvation say continually, “Let God be magnified!” –Psalm 70:4 Merry Christmas, everyone!!! Today, I’d like to talk about inflatables…you know, those giant inflatable Santas and Grinches and nativity scenes featuring

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Got-Junk?

I choose joy! –me I choose joy…GRRR!!!! –me in traffic Joy is a focus, before it’s a feeling. –Pastor Steven Furtick Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. –Psalm 51:10 In the last episode of “Decluttering My Heart” we left Shelbo giving the “Curtis box” the ol’ heave-ho and rejoicing as the Lord remodeled the newly-opened space. But wait…there’s more!! Have you ever been reveling in the completion of a chore and suddenly, BAM!, you do a double-take? “Where did that come from? How did I miss/forget about THAT?!” One morning, in

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Being…

We are human beings, not human doings. –attributed to the Dalai Lama, Kurt Vonnegut, and others “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill can not be hidden…let your light shine before others…” –Matthew 5:14-16 (excerpts) Love one another. Share the Good News. I love having a deep, getting-deeper-every-day relationship with my Lord and I want more than anything else to share with others what they can have through Him. Then I get bogged down… I, um, tend to overanalyze a little…and I start thinking I have to have the perfect opening line (is there

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Yoda…

Don’t withhold good from someone who deserves it, when it is in your power to do so. –Proverbs 3:27 “Lord, give me the ability to see the needs of others, and if I have the ability to meet that need, let me boldly step forward, with You by my side, to meet it. –my daily prayer coincidence (Biblical definition): what occurs together by God’s providential arrangement of circumstances I apologize. If you are a Star Wars fan, this post has nothing to do with the movies or the little green Yoda dude. Or Baby Yoda, even though he is beyond

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Special Ops Grannies…

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. –2 Corinthians 10: 3-4 When Joshua had grown old, the Lord said to him, “You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.” –Joshua 13:1 “Don’t let me push too hard, Lord. I know I’ve got a big mouth.” –Miss Clara, from the movie War Room Grandma Skippy called it a “sewing circle.”

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2,617…

We tap, swipe, and click on our phones on average 2,617 times a day, extreme users more than 5,400. –study by research firm Dscout Instead of going to the phone, we should go to the Throne. –Sheri E. All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone. –Blaise Pascal, quote published in 1654 I’m not sure it’s any consolation that it was just as hard back in 1654… Over lunch, a friend casually mentioned that her daughter (not a teenager, but a 30-something) often watches TV while working on her laptop and texting on

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God’s Math is different…

miracle: a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency God’s Math is different.–Mel W. Luke 6:38–Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Every morning I have to prime the pump with the Word of God. By the time I come to Him in prayer, I’m ready, and as I pray, out begins to

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Callie

*I wrote this almost forty years ago for a freshman writing class. Today He nudged me to post it to this blog, and I thank Him for that. It is a part of my journey worth remembering, celebrating…and sharing (that’s the scary part). I present it unedited (also scary), an offering of obedience and faith. CALLIE At the age of fifteen I regarded the world of the elderly with horror. I cursed them as they puttered, swerving, in front of me on the highway. Their walkers and crutches embarrassed me. Eyes averted, I avoided all contact with them, fearing the

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Into the overwhelm…

“on a wing and a prayer”–idiom stemming from WWII; returning from a bombing run over Germany in a crippled plane, Ashcraft told his crew, “Those who want to, please pray.” The term describes doing something difficult or dangerous while relying on divine help. Isaiah 41:10–Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Psalm 61:1-2–Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is

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Decluttering my heart…

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. –Psalm 139: 23-24 I’m a “little passionate” about decluttering…yes, the whole “spark joy, closet purge, minimalism” thing. I’ve only seen a couple episodes of “Hoarders,” and, like a lot of people, I’ve thought, “How is that POSSIBLE? How does anyone LIVE with that?” Again, clarity comes in unexpected ways… The sermon was about…forgiveness. I sat there and thought, “Cool! Been here, done that…forgive others as I’ve forgiven you…yup, yup, yup…I

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A Muppet for Christ…

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. –Romans 12:6-8 “There is only one way to peace: be reconciled that of yourself you are what you are, and it might not be especially magnificent, what you are! God has

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What’s next?

“…adrift without a rubric…” –from the book Meet the Frugalwoods “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…” –Jeremiah 29:11 Far away in a land called France there is a kingdom. In that kingdom there is a beautiful palace, encircled by a town, which is surrounded by vast royal hunting grounds… The Forest of Fontainebleau. Into this forest one day a farm girl walked. Her soul was in great turmoil. For two years every aspect of her life had

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Don’t smile until Christmas…

The world can be a nasty place, you know it, I know it, yeah, See, we don’t have to fall from grace, Put down the weapons you fight with And kill ’em with kindness. —Selena Gomez, Kill ‘Em with Kindness “Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.” —Kathleen B. In 1992 I was a North Dakota farm girl living in New Jersey and had just secured my first teaching job in a large middle school. The happy ending is that placement turned into an amazing calling and I stayed in that building until I retired, 25 years later…but the beginning? Uff

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The Pink Door…

The events described happened in August 2020. When I got home that day, I immediately pulled out my journal and this entry pretty much wrote itself. I wrestled with its place in this blog, but ultimately decided it was a story that needed to be told. THE PINK DOOR “Oh, my God, you’re so crabby today! I apologize, he’s never like this!” She was at the counter in the boutique, buying a buttery-soft aqua moto jacket that looked like it was made for her. She was absolutely stunning, and you could tell she was just as beautiful on the inside.

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A thorn in my flesh…

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 …I was given a thorn in my flesh…I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. I have a thorn in my flesh…and I was going to be all vague and everything, because I want it to be about Him, not me, and I want this blog to be about Him, not me. But He said, “No, Shelbo, you need to

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Practice, practice, practice…

Old joke: A fellow goes to New York to attend a concert, but gets lost. He spots another fellow who’s carrying a violin case. “Sir, can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?” The musician smiles and says, “Practice, practice, practice.” -Source unknown Prayer is a lot like yoga. Some days you are super focused, full of energy, enthusiastic, everything flows. Some days your mind is all over the place, you have trouble with the poses, there’s discomfort, you’re impatient (“I’ve been doing this for so long, I should be able to twist my body into a pretzel

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All Him…

–journal entry, October 2019… “I give all the glory to God, for any cool moments or triumphs. It’s all Him. I’m just a kid stumbling around in the darkness over unfamiliar terrain most of the time. But He, and His hand, are always there.” –journal entry, April 2020… I think Brenda H. summed it up best…not everyone gets to hear the voice of God clearly on earth. That’s what happened yesterday. I went to pay property tax at the County building. When I walked in, my heart sank; there must’ve been at least 20 people in line, all masked up

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A short glossary…

FIELD NOTES: qualitative notes recorded by scientists/researchers in the course of field research, during and after their observation of a specific phenomenon they are studying. The notes are intended to be read as evidence that gives meaning and aids in understanding the phenomenon. **They should be descriptive and reflective. DESCRIPTIVE: what the inquirer sees, hears, and experiences REFLECTIVE: reflect your personal account of what you are learning PRAYER WARRIOR: We are taught that there is a great spiritual battle ongoing (Ephesians 6:12). A prayer warrior is one who takes part in that battle through prayer–interceding for others and praying for

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A blog…really?

I thank the Lord for hugs. The way I see it, we’re all just a mess of broken pieces held together with the glue of God’s love, and in every hug we squeeze those pieces and that Love into an even tighter bond. In those moments we keep each other whole and even more connected to Him, ourselves, and each other. –excerpt from prayer journal on 11/30/2020 This is the inspiration for this blog…that in sharing we can help each other on this journey to knowing Him and the life He wants for us. Because I believe prayer is sharing

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My prayer for this blog…

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks under all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 12/1/2020 Lord, help me find my voice. Help me find the voice that is ME. Let it be exuberant and full of love and laughter. I want to offer perspective that can inspire other believers, seekers, those that don’t know what to think about this whole “religion thing.” Lord, help me find that balance…exuberant, but reverent…demonstrative, but humble. Give me the right and proper words. I want to show people that Christianity can be fun. Crazy fun! Yes,

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