Saturday, January 16, 2016

Changes ... Farewell Letter

Dear Nebraska Family Times readers, sponsors and advertisers:

The last few months have been full of changes for me! In August I began a full-time nursing job, for Angels Care Home Health company in Columbus. I love my job! It’s different every single day and has taught me to be flexible—many days my carefully planned schedule to see my patients changes…by the time I see my first patient!

Over Thanksgiving weekend I moved to the house my future-husband and I were buying…on December 5th we got married and I became stepmom to Danielle and Ryan and Cassy (Danielle, 27, lives in Omaha…Ryan is 12 and Cassy is 16 and they live with us full-time)…and on December 7th Sam, Cassy and Ryan moved into our home too! On January 4th we signed a big pile of papers and became homeowners!

During these last few months I’ve sometimes felt overwhelmed with my new responsibilities as an employee, then wife and stepmom and homeowner. I’d been considering the option of selling the “Nebraska Family Times” for several months, and one afternoon I got a strong urge to e-mail Becky Uehling. Becky had written for the NFT, has a background in journalism and had expressed an interested over the years in taking over the “Nebraska Family Times” or becoming a co-owner, and in considering all of my options I decided to see if she was still interested. She replied almost immediately! I could almost feel her excitement through the computer—my message had arrived on the very day that changes in her life made it the perfect time to take over the NFT!

Things have moved very quickly since then, and Becky is now working on the February issue of the NFT. I’m in the process of getting her all of the lists I’ve made and kept over the years and sharing all of my hints for publishing the NFT, and I’ll be answering her questions and helping her in every way I can, for as long as she would like me to! Becky and I met several weeks ago and I could immediately sense her passion for publishing a Christian newspaper that will inspire Nebraska readers! I know she’s going to do a great job as editor and publisher of the NFT, and she’ll have the time and expertise to do many things I haven’t had the time to do, in spreading the paper state-wide.

This is a bittersweet time for me; I published the NFT for a little more than 8 years. Doing so was a mission from God and I grew stronger in my faith through doing it, as well as meeting and working with many wonderful people! I’m so thankful for everyone who has been a part of the paper.

In the past year I’ve been amazed many times at how, with God’s hand, things have come together for us—from Sam and I meeting again and building our relationship, to my getting my new job, to us getting approved for a home loan and putting together a wedding in barely a month and the perfect timing in my decision to sell the paper and Becky being ready to take over.

And we were reminded of His amazing timing once again this week, when Sam and I unexpectedly became foster parents to three siblings age 8, 10, and 12, whose parents cannot care for them at this time. I’m so thankful that the NFT will continue…and we can concentrate on our new mission, our growing family!

I pray that the NFT will continue to grow and be a blessing to readers! Please welcome Becky as the new Editor and Publisher, and THANK YOU all for being a part of the NFT. God’s blessings to you all! 


Thursday, November 19, 2015

All Circumstances, Lord? ALL Circumstances?

All Circumstances, Lord? ALL Circumstances?

By Shelly Burke, Editor

Give thanks in all circumstances.               1 Thessalonians 5:18

About 10 years ago my kids and I and my sister and her daughter went to southern Missouri, where our parents retired, for Thanksgiving. My other sister and her husband, from Canada, were there too. It’s the one time a year we’re all together.

From the beginning, the trip seemed jinxed. Cody and Morgan and I drove to southern Nebraska to pick up Becky and Logan, and we got a flat tire on the way. In the dark. On a cold, cold night.

We got to Kansas City at rush hour time, and somehow ended up going through KC instead of around it (sidenote: in all the years mom and dad have lived in Missouri, I think there has been ONE TIME I’ve gotten AROUND Kansas City…the rest of the trips I’ve somehow managed to go through part or all of it!) The low fuel light was on…and we were stuck in construction.

We stopped at the first gas station we came to and my sister’s comment, after we got on the road again, was “Let’s stop at a prison next time…the restroom would probably be cleaner than that one!”

Within hours of getting to mom and dad’s, Cody complained of a stomach ache and started vomiting. The next day dad took us for a ride in his boat and on the way back to their home Morgan threw up…in the back of their car…that they’d just started leasing. There’s not one picture of us all together that Thanksgiving because either Cody or Morgan were sick in bed the whole three days we were there.

Early in the morning of the day after Thanksgiving, Becky woke me up. “Logan isn’t feeling good. I think we should leave so we get home before you and I get sick…or we could be here for a long time.” (Mom and dad and my sister Deb and her husband Steve were glad we we drove out they were throwing open the windows to air out the house, despite the temperature being in the low 30’s.) We loaded up the green-faced kids, mom gave us an armload of towels, and we started the 400 mile drive home.

We stopped 8 times in the first two hours, in a few parking lots…gas stations…and at least once on the side of the road. It was very long trip.

Give thanks in ALL circumstances Lord? What could I possibly be thankful for about that Thanksgiving trip?

As it turns out, many things. We were able to coast into town on the flat tire, and it only took AAA a little while to get there and change the tire. We didn’t run out of fuel in the middle of construction in downtown Kansas City. I hope I’ve been in have been in the filthiest gas-station restroom that I will ever be in. Although there’s not a picture of all of us together that Thanksgiving, we were all together!  Becky and I didn’t get sick until we were home…and dad (who had to preach in church that Sunday) didn’t get sick at all.

Of course, our circumstances on that trip were very minor compared to many things people face every day—a terminal diagnosis, the sickness of a child, the break-up of a marriage, loss of a job. But God’s command is the same: Give thanks in all circumstances.

What can we give thanks for during trying, terrible times? If nothing else, our faith. And we can be thankful for Jesus and His death that gave us life. Nothing, and no one, no circumstance, can take away our salvation. No matter what the outcome of anything you are going through, you are not alone. The Lord is with you. And believers will be with Him, for eternity. And that is something to be thankful for!

Read more by Shelly at

"The Only Way" Scripture Memory Challenge December

The Only Way

By Shelly Burke, Editor

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
                John 14:6

Chances are, if you’re reading the Nebraska Family Times, you know that Jesus is the only way to eternal life--heaven. Many people, however—even so-called believers—do not believe this.  Some believe that “it doesn’t really matter who I believe in—Mohammad, for example—or what I believe, as long as I really and truly believe it, I’ll get to heaven.”

Others believe in Jesus, but only believe that He was a “good man” or that He “didn’t really die and come back to life.”

Others believe that Jesus is part of the way to heaven…but to get there they must also be a  ”good enough”  person or pray “enough” of the right prayers or give “enough” money to the church or to charities.

In the verse above, Jesus does not say that He is “part of the way” to heaven, or “one of the ways” to get to heaven. He is very clear that He is the way to the Father, to God, to eternal life. Jesus does not say he is “part of the truth” or “one of the truths”; He says that He is the truth.

Do the people you love and  care about know this? Are you sure? If not (or even if you know they know that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life), invite them to one of the many church services that will be held this Christmas season. It’s easy—simply say, “Would you like to go to church with me Christmas Eve? Our church has a beautiful service—I just love singing the Christmas songs”, or “The choir concert at our church is wonderful—would you like to go with me?” or “I love starting Christmas Day celebrating the real reason—Jesus’ birth—and then continuing the celebration with family and our special dinner. Would you like to come with me to church?”

What better gift could you give someone than to introduce them to the eternal truth?
Shelly is the editor and publisher of the Nebraska Family Times. Read more at If you would like to receive FREE Scripture Memory Cards, email 

Monday, June 29, 2015

7 Steps to Escaping Temptation 
By Shelly Burke, Editor 

God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 
1 Corinthians 10:13

To receive your FREE Scripture
Memory Card, see previous post!
Temptations are part of living in a world full of sin. However, we are not powerless in the face of temptation. While God doesn’t promise that we won’t be tempted, in this verse he does promise us a way out. However, we have to be active in resisting sin; God probably will not whisk you away to a safe place or cause an earthquake for distraction! 

Here are some ways to be active in preparing for temptation: 

1. Know your boundaries. Scripture gives us many absolute  boundaries; we are not to lie, steal, gossip, have sex outside of marriage, murder, or curse. When you have it in your mind that you will not do these things, based on God’s Word, you are much less likely to give in. 

2. Define your boundaries. Some boundaries are not absolute. Where limits are not specified in the Bible, determine your own limits. The Bible doesn’t forbid watching TV or listening to music or reading as long as it doesn’t lead us to sin, or distract us from Him. Ask God for discernment in choosing these activities. 

3. Avoid temptation. Do everything you can not to even be in a situation in which you’ll be tempted. Discuss limits if you are dating. Don’t be alone with a guy or girl if you’ll be tempted sexually. Avoid the breakroom at work if there is only negative talk and gossip among the people who are in there. 

4. Plan what you will do when you are in a tempting situation. Despite attempts to avoid temptation, at some point you will probably find yourself in a less-than-optimal situation. What will you do? Depending on the circumstances, you may choose to leave the situation quietly, speak up for your beliefs, or explain your beliefs. In some situations you might have to take dramatic action, like quitting a job in which you’re expected to lie or cheat. You might decide to stop hanging out with friends who cheat on their spouses. 

5. Pray. Ask God to give you the wisdom to know how to get out of the situation. Ask Him for the words to say and action to take. Ask Him to keep you strong. 

6. Role play with your kids. They face temptation too! Teach them at a young age what God’s Word says they should not do. Talk about copying homework, bullying other kids, stealing, sexual temptation, pornography, explicit books and movies, alcohol and drugs, playing violent video games, and so on. Define your limits (which are their limits too) and be firm in enforcing them. Talk about situations in which they might find themselves, and how they can “escape”. Discuss the importance of choosing friends with similar values. 1 Corinthians 15:33 warns, “Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.”   Some parents have an agreement in which if the child calls and says “Can you pick me up?” or gives a code word, the parent will, without question, pick them up and remove them from the situation. Our kids could tell their friends, “If I do that my mom will ground me for six months!” because it was the truth!  

7. Remember—God forgives! We can all relate to the words of Paul in the book of Romans: “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:19) God forgives, just for the asking, any and all of our sins. He provides a way of escape for us, but He also knows that in our sinful nature, we will still sin. And He forgives. 

To receive your FREE Scripture Memory Challenge verse card for the month, and for the rest of the year, send your name and address to or 
Nebraska Family Times, 209 27th St., Columbus, NE 68601. $10 suggested donation to cover postage costs.  

Sunday, June 14, 2015

"Raising Godly Girls" book review

A great resource for moms of girls of any age!

I'm so happy to announced the release of "Raising Godly Girls" by my good friend Deb Burma! 

If God has blessed you with the gift of a daughter (or daughters), He has entrusted you with both a huge task and a sometimes overwhelming privilege. In Raising Godly Girls, author Deb Burma comprehensively covers the wide range of issues related to faith and related to “the world”, that raising a daughter involves. 

Raising Godly Girls stands out among parenting books as a resource that moms can begin using at any time--when their girls are toddlers or almost all grown up--and refer back to again and again. As well as encouraging readers to incorporate faith into every aspect of the lives of their “princesses of the King” Raising Godly Girls directly addresses tricky, sensitive and uncomfortable topics that girls of all ages face today, including the pressure to dress and act sexually, body image and developing good character. Raising Godly Girls also recognizes the vital need for girls to have faith and the Lord infused in every aspect of their lives, through prayer, Bible study, devotions, and worship.

While Deb offers a wide variety of “real life” suggestions for facing the “real world” problems of today (she realizes that each family is unique),  she always guides us back to the best parenting book—the Bible. Through specific verses and narratives from Scripture, Deb shows us what the Lord desires of us as examples for our girls (and everyone around us) and how He desires them to act—“in the world but not of the world”.

For example, Deb shares how devotion time in their own home changed throughout the years as the kids (one princess, Courtney, who was integral in the development of this book, and two princes, her brothers) grew and schedules became busier. Deb also encourages moms who are new Christians, or perhaps have recently renewed their commitment to their faith, that it’s not “too late” to incorporate faith in their kids’ lives.

Raising Godly Girls is written in Deb Burma’s unique conversational style, filled with personal stories and anecdotes, and packed with scripture and encouragement on every page. She shares scenarios that all readers can relate to— like the hectic shopping trip with energetic toddlers after which she forgot to drive through the pick-up lane to pick up her groceries.

After presenting an issue specific to raising our girls, every chapter wraps up with three sections that show readers how apply the information in that chapter.   
  •   Don’t Conform, Be Transformed helps readers apply the truths of that chapter with encouragement to live “in, but not of, the world.”
  •    Word of Grace reassures us that our mistakes and sins, and the sins of our daughters—of long ago or of that very day--are forgiven through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •           Show and Tell provides leads us to look inside ourselves to evaluate our own actions and motivations and gives concrete examples, from Deb and her daughter, Courtney, on whose experiences growing up Deb drew from extensively, for moms to show and tell her daughter the truths of that chapter. 
         To read more by Deb Burma, and to see where she will be speaking, go to her website Fragrant Offerings. To order "Raising Godly Girls" go to 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A to Z Blogging "W is for..."

"...Worst Things to say in Any Situation"
From the Series "Words Matter"
by Shelly Burke, RN, Author, and Editor, Nebraska Family Times Newspaper

Sometimes we’re tempted to use these phrases because we’re so uncomfortable with a grieving or suffering person’s emotions. Resist the temptation and do not say them! Instead, use one of the phrases on the next page, which will be much more comforting and helpful.

  • “I know just EXACTLY how you feel!” (No, you don't know "exactly" how someone feels...even if the circumstances seem the same, they are not, and people do not react to or feel the same way even in similar circumstances.)
  • “Don’t worry, it will all work out perfectly and everything will be just fine.” (You don't know this and can't promise it.)
  • “Here’s what you need to do . . . “ (You don't know all the details, and even if you do, it's not your place to say what someone "needs" to do.)
  • “It can’t be THAT bad!” (To the person it is happening to, YES it CAN be that bad!)
  • “Get over it! You‘ve felt that way long enough.” (There is no timetable for grief. Grief after a death, divorce, or other life-changing event, will be life-long.)
  • “You’ve grieved enough.” (How do you know what "enough"
  • “You’re not grieving in the ‘right’ way.” (What is the "right" way to grieve??? If you're concerned about how someone is reacting to grief, talk with a professional before confronting them. And do so in a kinder way.)
  • “Don’t feel that way!” (There is no right or wrong way to "feel".)
  • “Don’t say that!” (We say this because we are uncomfortable; it is a blessing to allow someone to share all of their thoughts and have them be accepted by the listener without judgement.)
  • “Don’t cry!” (Again, we say this because we are uncomfortable seeing someone grieve. Push aside your own discomfort and give the person the blessing of letting her cry without judgement.) 

Click here for the The Best Things to Say in Any Situation
The mission of the “Nebraska Family Times” is to “inspire, encourage and motivate you on your Christian walk.” To receive local, state and national news from a Christian point of view, as well as devotions, Bible Study and articles about all aspects of Christian life, in your mailbox every month, subscribe for only $20 for 12 issues! Click “Subscribe” on the sidebar or send your address and payment to Nebraska Family Times, 209 27th St. Apt. #13, Columbus, NE 68601.

I am also taking the Blogging A to Z Challenge at 
where the theme is “Lifehacks for Christian Moms.”

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Blogging A to Z on Throwback Thursday, "T is for..."

A to Z Blogging: T is for...Thoughts

By Shelly Burke, Editor

(This post originally appeared on April 23, 2013. I needed this reminder today and pray it blesses you as well!)

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…” 2 Corin. 10:5

My thoughts, especially in the middle of the night, can take me to scary places. “What if I lose my jobs—both of them…can’t get another nursing job of any kind anywhere in the whole state (or country!)… and I eat alllllllllll of the food in my cupboards….still don’t have a job so get evicted…and my Envoy breaks down….so I have to have it towed down by the river so I can live in an Envoy, down by the river…?(Like whatever that song is, about “ living in a van, down by the river”).

Or, even darker…”What if I can’t get insurance when our COBRA runs out…and then I get cancer (I’ve had two friends diagnosed with breast cancer in the last few weeks)…and I’m all alone…and NONE of my friends will take me to ANY appointments…and anyway I’m living in my broken-down Envoy, down by the river…”

OK, in the bright light of day, and even during the night, I realize how ridiculous these thoughts are. For one thing I am blessed with many wonderful friends who would help me out, just as I would help them.  But I think everyone has had those dark and racing thoughts at some point—especially during a time of transition and in the dark of night.

I think the devil likes us to have these thoughts—he wants us to live in fear, both to take away our joy of living, and to make us doubt what we know about God, and the promises that God has given us.

What Paul is telling us here is that we have more than just ourselves—our flesh—to fight these thoughts. We do not have to do it alone! We have the divine power of the Holy Spirit, working through God’s Word, the Holy Bible, on our side, to dispute these thoughts. We can look to His word and destroy the thoughts that are contrary to what we know of God.  

And what does God’s word say about His character and His promises to us?

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified…for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”
     Deuteronomy 31:6

“And He will give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.”
Psalm 91:11

“Cast all your anxiety upon the Lord because He cares for you!”
1 Peter 5:7

Pray to be discerning, to be able to tell when your thoughts are going into those dark places. When dark thoughts enter your mind, take them captive. Compare them to what you know about God and about His Word. Claim His promises. Accept His peace.