Thursday, May 31, 2012

"And they recognized that they had been with Jesus"

“And they recognized they had been with Jesus”
by Shelly Burke, Editor, Nebraska Family Times

(from Google Images)
I am currently reading through and studying the book of Acts, which records the history of the early church after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension into heaven. It is called “Acts” because it gives an account of the acts of the apostles as they spread the Good News.

In Acts 3, Peter heals a lame man. Many witness the healing and run to hear what Peter has to say. Peter uses the opportunity to attribute the healing to God, and proceeds to tell the people that salvation only comes through Jesus Christ. Peter and John were arrested for what they were saying and “put into custody” over night.

The next day they were taken in front of the leaders who asked them how they healed the lame man. The Bible tells us that Peter was “filled with the holy spirit” and began to speak. He attributes the miracle to “Jesus Christ of Nazareth and explains the plan of salvation. The leaders knew that Peter and John were “uneducated, common men” and were astonished by what they had to say. The leaders “recognized that they [Peter and John] had been with Jesus.” (Excerpted from Acts 4)

That phrase stood out to me: “And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13b)

And then I wondered: 
  • Do people recognize that I have been with Jesus? He is not here on earth bodily, as He was when Peter and John were alive, but I can spend time with Him through prayer, Bible study, and worship. 
  •  Do I, like Peter and John, answer calmly when I’m challenged about my beliefs or actions (or just really annoyed by someone else's actions)?
  •  Do I give credit to the Lord when He does something through me?
  •  Do I ask the Holy Spirit to give me the right words when I’m not sure what to say (or to put His hand over my mouth when I should keep it closed)?
  •  What have I done today, to show people that I have been with Jesus?

 What are you going to do today, to show that you have been with Jesus?

Lord, please be with me in all I do and say today. Let me show others that I have been with You. Amen.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Stormy Thoughts and Stormy Skies...and God's Promise

Stormy Thoughts and Stormy Skies…and God’s Promise

By Shelly Burke, Editor and Publisher, Nebraska Family Times, and author, Home is Where the Mom Is

These pictures were taken
outside of our home this

As I pulled weeds this afternoon I had stormy thoughts. Too many friends are facing serious health problems and personal difficulties. I heard news that promises turmoil in my own family’s life over the next few months. There’s no way around these problems; our friends and our family will just have to go through them.

This afternoon we had a nice, much-needed rain shower. After the shower I went outside to see where the storm was moving. I was awed to see one of the most beautiful double rainbows I’ve ever seen. It stretched all the way across the sky and I could see the whole thing, which is very unusual.

Seeing the rainbow reminded me of God’s promise to Noah, as he and his family came out of the ark after the flood.

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making
 between me and you…Whenever I bring clouds over the earth
and the rainbow appears in the clouds…I will remember my covenant
 between me and you…Never again will the waters become
 a flood to destroy all life.” Genesis 9:12-14

My friends and family and I are not facing a literal flood, of course. But the circumstances in each of our lives could be devastating. I was reminded of God’s promises to each of us; that He will walk beside us through any and all of the troubles we experience. That He is only a prayer away. And that, at the end of our lives, no matter how stormy, as believers we will spend eternity with Him! 

Thank You, Lord, for reminding me of Your promises to each of us. We are not alone; You are always with us. 

Monday, May 21, 2012


by Shelly Burke, Editor and Publisher, and author of Home is Where the Mom Is; A Christian Mom's Guide to Caring for Herself, Her Family, and Her Home

(from Google images)

Are you tired today?

I don’t mean physically tired, I mean tired of enduring challenges, emotional and spiritual.

Tired of being hopeful in the face of financial troubles.

Tired of setting a good example for your kids, an example which, at almost every turn, is contradicted by the world.

Tired of praying for a spouse or friend to become closer to God.

Tired of working so hard for what seems to be so little.

Tired of praying for a long-time difficult situation to change.

Tired of struggling with illness.

Tired of an ever-growing prayer list that friends and relatives facing serious illnesses or devastating situations.

Today my Bible reading was from 2 Corinthians 9. I tried to pick just one verse that represented the “tired” theme, but I quickly realized that verses 6-11 all represent encouragement for the tired in spirit.

This section starts with these words: “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” We usually think of this verse as meaning to “sow” with money, but it also refers to our spiritual gifts like love and encouragement. When we give generously to others--of our love, our encouragement, our patience--we will then reap bountifully.

The next verse says, “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” As a writer, I try to avoid repetition of a word in a paragraph or sentence unless I want to emphasize a point. Paul repeated the word “all” four times in this single verse, so I think he wants us to focus on the fact that God is truly gives us His grace in all of our works, all the time.

A verse later we read the promise that God “will supply and multiply your seed for sowing…You will be enriched in very way to be generous in every way” not just financially, but with our time, our encouragement, our love, our patience, our work.The more we give, the more we will get, so we can be even more generous! I am so thankful that when I am tired of praying, tired of struggling, tired of just enduring…I don’t have to do it by myself. I can know that God’s grace is sufficient, know that He will multiply what I want to give, that He will enable me to meet the needs of others.

Thank You, Lord, for enabling me to endure when I am tired. Please continue to give me Your grace so that I can sow generously in all ways, to those around me.

(I’m also blogging at Home is Where the Mom Is. Read
today’s post, titled “It’s not Written in Cement.”)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Prayer in School

Prayer in School 
by Shelly Burke, Editor and Publisher

I'm so thankful that Lakeview High School is standing up for the rights of the kids to have a prayer at their graduation ceremony! THANK YOU to the administration, teachers, Graduation Committee, and students for being firm in their faith. Read one of the stories here:    Lakeview to Pray at Graduation.     

One of the things that angers me the most about this whole issue is that there has NOT been a SINGLE complaint about having prayer at graduation this year (according to the article there was a complaint filed in 2001--11 years ago). The ACLU  is simply trying to stir up trouble. It was shocking to me to learn that even here in Nebraska in a small town we're facing an attack on Christianity.            

As I've followed this story I've learned a lot about the Constitution and our rights--did you know the words "separation of church and state" are not even in the Constitution? Please educate yourselves about these issues so you can discuss the FACTS and know your rights.

Gateways to Better Education has a mission of "Keeping the Faith in Public Schools." Check out their website to find out how religion can legally be shared in school. 

Please pray for all the kids who are graduating from high school and college this spring, as they move on to the next stage in their lives. May God bless them!