Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A to Z Blogging Challenge T is for Tribulation


Jesus said, “…in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation.
But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

What are you troubled about today?

Your financial situation?

A serious diagnosis or illness?

A challenging relationship with someone you love?

A difficult decision that you have to make?

These are all worldly  things, a result of the sin in this world. We will never be free of the trials and tribulation and chaos of this world.

But Jesus has overcome the world and He assures us in the verse above that we can have peace. The peace only He can bring, a peace not of this world but a supernatural, spiritual peace.

Take heart; He has overcome the world, and despite the troubles here on earth, we will spend eternity in perfect peace and joy.

What are you troubled about today? 
Ask the Lord to give you the peace that only He can give.

(I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Home is Where the Mom Is. Check it out!)

Monday, April 28, 2014

A to Z Blogging Challenge -- S is for Small Things

Small Things

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”
Zechariah 4:10

This verse is part of a vision the prophet Zechariah is recounting to the people,  regarding rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. The temple had been destroyed years before and the people had been in exile. They were now returning to Jerusalem from exile and would rebuild the temple.

The plumb line was a weight, attached to a string. The plumb line was hung down to make sure the walls of the temple were being built straight. The string and weight were very small, but very important; If the walls were not straight, the temple structure would not be stable.

God rejoiced to see the work on the temple begin, and He rejoices when we begin our work, too. The small steps may not seem to be much but they are a foundation to what you will accomplish.

What is one goal you are working on? Losing weight? Exercising regularly? Paying off a credit card? Establishing an emergency fund? Cleaning your whole house? Growing your relationship with the Lord?

What “small thing” can you do today? Ask the Lord to bless and guide you upon your quest, take a deep breath, and begin. Take a walk around the block. Plan healthy meals. Make a credit card payment. Clean a closet. Read a Psalm. The Lord rejoices to see the work begin!

What “small beginning” are you going to make today?

I’m also blogging at Home is Where the Mom Is . Click to check it out!

A to Z Blogging Challenge -- R is for Refuge


“But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of Your works.”
Psalm 73:28

God has been my refuge in the midst of the most difficult time in my life, during the summer of 2012 when my marriage was breaking up and I was starting over. It was more than good to be near Him; it was the greatest blessing I could have at that time.  I knew that He understood, that He had a plan for me, that He would never, ever leave me. When I could not concentrate to read or comprehend anything else in His Word, I could read the Psalms, including Psalm 73.

Have you made God your refuge today? Was He your first choice, or did you only turn to Him after texting your best friend or calling your sister or posting on FaceBook? Turn to Him first; as wonderful as your friends and family are, He offers even more comfort.

What works of His will you tell others of, to strengthen their faith?

I will share this and I hope it encourages readers. I needed a job after I moved out, and asked God for a job that met the following guidelines; in the town in which I was living (I hate driving in bad weather), relatively non-stressful (I had enough stress in my “real” life!), decent paying, and part-time so that I could continue publishing the Nebraska Family Times and writing if that was His will.

Several weeks later I read a want-ad and when I called the number I found that it fit every single one of my requests. After a few months I realized that it was a little too “part time” for me to meet my expenses…and then I found out about another part-time job that, as well as fitting the above requirements, would also fit perfectly into my life. The two jobs are the best jobs I’ve had in my nursing career!

But it gets even better...

A few months ago, I realized that God gave me something in both jobs that I hadn’t even thought to ask for: Christian friends who offered me the support and encouragement I needed during that very hard time. He knew what I needed and blessed me with it, even though I didn’t think to ask.

God truly is my refuge; it is so good to be near Him!

What works has God done in your life, that you can share to encourage others?
 If you’d like, comment below.

(I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Home is Where the Mom Is. Check it out!)

Friday, April 25, 2014

{{Still Catching up on the A to Z Challenge}} Q is for Quarrel


The beginning of strife is like letting out water,
so quit before the quarrel breaks out.
Proverbs 17:14

Have you been in a quarrel with someone…but you can’t remember how it began? A cross (or perceived to be cross) word can start a back-and-forth that just escalates—and suddenly you’re in an argument—maybe not even knowing what it is really about. It’s happened to me and usually I feel silly that something pretty minor escalated (especially when it was with one of my kids…when they were toddlers).

The verse above tells us to “quit before the quarrel breaks out.”

It’s not easy—we all want to prove ourselves “right.” But oftentimes not arguing at all feels even better than proving a point—and it takes less time, too.

I’ve made a point to try to diffuse conflict before it starts (I’m not always successful…it’s my own fault!).

Sometimes it means saying something completely off topic; my favorite is “How ‘bout them Huskers?” (That is especially mood-changing when I say it because those who know me know that I have no idea if the current season is football, volleyball, or basketball…and I have no idea if players in said sports are trying to hit a ball, throw a ball, kick a ball…).  

Sometimes it means we agree to disagree…and one of us has to agree not to insist on having the last word in the agreeing-to-disagree.

Sometimes it means nodding respectfully and not saying another word (I think I have scars on my tongue from doing that…but I didn’t argue!)

Sometimes it means saying nothing…but having that pit-in-the-stomach feeling of “He was soooo wrong…”

All this is to say, it’s not easy to avoid an argument (especially when you *know* you are right). But God wouldn’t have given us this instruction if it wasn’t important to Him.

Maybe He commanded us not to quarrel because so many of our arguments are so minor…but cause so much stress, tension and chaos—stress, tension and chaos that takes our attention away from the Him and doing His work.

Maybe it’s because quarrels can hurt—sometimes really hurt—all involved.

Maybe it’s because quarrels just do not show His love—the love He wants us to show to everyone.

Maybe it’s because quarreling is a bad example to kids and to non-Christians, you know, the whole setting-a-good-example thing.

It’s not easy, but it is His command. And the Bible tells us that Jesus experienced temptation, too—but He did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15). The next verse says, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and grace to help in time of need.”

So there is my solution for you—when you are tempted to quarrel, draw near to the Lord. Pray that He will guard your tongue…will give you something funny to say…will help you control your words…or even put His hand over your mouth to prevent those words from coming out (even if they would convince the other person that you are right).

Do you get caught up in a quarrel before you realize it?
What will you do today, to stop it before it starts?

I’m also blogging at Home is Where the Mom Is

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
Romans 12:18

It is possible to live peaceably with most people; if your personalities clash, you either avoid the person or are distantly polite.

However, there are people with whom it is not possible to live peaceably.

Perhaps when you give an inch they take 10,000 miles.

Maybe they are offended by everything you say, and let you know it.

Or have hurt you so badly in the past (or continue to hurt you) you just cannot face them.

Or their values directly oppose yours—and they enjoy trying to force them on you.

What to do? 
  • Avoid the person if possible.
  • Pray that the Lord will give you patience and grace if you have to face the person, and that if words are necessary, the Holy Spirit will give you the right ones. And (this is really difficult!) pray for the person. The only thing I could pray for one person who used to be in my life was, “Please Lord give her Your peace.”
  • Remember the words that follow the above verse: “Never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:19-20. 
  • Hard as it is (I know, I’ve been in the situation!) be kind if you have to have contact, and let the Lord handle the rest. He knows what has happened; He knows what the best solution is. It might not be your solution; pray for His peace with whatever happens.

Who in your life is impossible to live with peaceably? What will you do next time you see that person? Pray for the Lord’s guidance, and that you will show His love, despite the circumstances.

I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Home is Where the Mom Is

Thursday, April 24, 2014

 Old Testament

Every word in the Bible is there for a reason. Have you ever wondered what the purpose of the narratives of the Old Testament are? (Our pastor calls them “narratives”, as the word “stories” implies they are fiction. In our denomination we believe that every narrative in the Bible actually happened.)

Paul wrote, in the New Testament, about the events that happened during the time the Israelites were wandering in the desert for 40 years. The Israelites grumbled, complained, disobeyed and doubted the Lord, and worshiped idols.

“Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did…Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction…”
1 Corinthians 10:6, 11

These narratives are not only a record of the events that occurred as our faith-history, they are events that the Lord wants us to remember and look back upon. The Israelites give us many examples of how we should not act. They show us the consequences of evil and of sin.

The Old Testament can also inspire and encourage us. In Romans, St. Paul wrote:

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Romans 15:4

 What is your favorite OT narrative?

I think mine is the narrative of Joseph (Genesis 37-46). He endured so much at the hands of his brothers, then Potiphar (after his wife lied to him that Joseph had tried to assault her). Even when he was in prison for an additional two years (because the cupbearer to whom Joseph had interpreted a dream had forgotten him) Joseph did not give up hope. Eventually Joseph was raised into power and saved the entire country, and his family (who he forgave for selling him into slavery), from starvation. The reach of this narrative—through many years and several nations—shows me how, despite bad things happening, God makes all things for good. During this time Joseph was faithful to the Lord, despite being betrayed over and over. Joseph can be an example for all of us, in how he did not only forgive his brothers, but brought them to live with him.

I am also encouraged by Joshua, who lead the Israelites into the promised land; most experts believe there were several million Israelites by this time—and they were a challenge, to be sure!

Esther’s bravery inspires me to do what is right no matter where I am and what I’m doing.

These narratives and more have encouraged me to endure through the difficult times in my life; I know that, like God’s Old Testament people, I can survive and thrive, with the help of the Lord.

Study the Old Testament, with your children if they are still at home. Every narrative gives guidance and instruction, encouragement. Some give warnings; some help us to endure. As you read the narratives, talk about and write down the life-lessons you can learn from them.

What is your favorite Old Testament narrative and why? Share your comments below. 

A to Z Blogging -- N is for Near


Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,
that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

Do you ever hesitate to pray about your problems, your fears, your mistakes, your concerns?

Do you doubt that the Lord understands?

Do you wonder if He can really forgive your sins? He H

Hebrews 4:14-15 tells us, “For we do not have a High Priest {Jesus} Who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one Who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

So you see, He does understand.  You can draw near to him, knowing that He was tempted as we are; He did not sin but He knows how we feel and He shows us mercy and grace when we fail, no matter what our failures are.

Take comfort in drawing near to the Lord today; experience His mercy and grace no matter what your need. 

(I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Home is Where the Mom Is. Check it out!)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Catching up...{Drumroll}...And the Winners Are...

The winners of the gift basket (pictured below) are: 

  • Marcy, for your comment on the Nebraska Family Times blog on 4/18
  • Buffie, for your comment on the Nebraska Family Times blog on 4/16
  • Melanie Schultz for your comment on the Home is Where the Mom Is blog on 4/16
  • Multi-Tasking Mama for your comment on the Home is Where the Mo Is blog on 4/8
Please e-mail me your mailing address to me at shelly@shellyburke.net by Wednesday and I'll get your gift in the mail! 

The next giveaway will be announced later this week;
sign up to receive these blog posts in your e-mail so you can sign up
for the next gift giveaway! {HINT: It will contain CHOCOLATE!)

And stay tuned...I'll be catching up on posts for the A to Z Blogging Challenge on both blogs this week! 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Wild Week! And Chance to Win a Gift Basket Extended!

Yes, I know it's not the day for "W" yet...

Please accept my sincere apologies at falling behind on the "A to Z Challenge"! On Sunday I was invited to go with a friend to a little town in western Nebraska; she gave her "Chocolate" talk there. After, as she was talking with people who attended, we started hearing that the Interstate was closed...because of snow! We did NOT expect that but after checking with family and friends realized that we'd be spending the night in North Platte (where there was no snow, by the way...). After a trip to WalMart for pajamas and a few other necessities, we treated ourselves to a nice supper out and talked until almost 2 AM, discussing everything from our kids to the theology of heaven to our future writing plans and goals to the kind of toothpaste we used...

Needless to say I didn't get any blogging done that day or Monday...we left mid-morning to come home and within 5 or 6 miles saw the first semi jack-knifed in the median. We saw numerous other cars and semis on their sides or completely overturned as we made our way home. We were very thankful to get home safely!

The rest of my week was spent putting the May issue of the "Nebraska Family Times" together; if you'd like a FREE copy of the June issue e-mail me at shelly@shellyburke.net with your mailing address), working, going to church, welcoming Morgan, my daughter, home, seeing the movie "Heaven is for Real", planning and shopping for Easter dinner...and basically, well, not blogging.

I have my posts planned out and WILL catch up within the next few days.

To make it up to my readers I will be giving away 4 gift baskets instead of just one (see this post ) and have decided to extend it until Easter Monday; everyone who comments between now and then will be in the drawing for one of the gift baskets.

May God bless you and your family this Easter!

"He is risen!"
"He is risen indeed!"

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A to Z Blogging -- M is for Measure


Jesus said, “…give, and it will be given to you…
For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.
Luke 6:38

With what measure are you giving today? It is easy to “give”—of our time, our talent, and our treasure—to those we love, to those who have given to us.

But with what measure do you give?

Reluctantly, because you don’t want to take the time?

Resentfully, that someone demanding yet something else?

Angrily because you “have” to?

The Lord gives to us every day with a measure of generosity and love, more than we can imagine, more than we could ever deserve. Shouldn’t we do the same?

But it is not so easy to give to those who have measured out to us betrayal, or hurt, or maybe nothing at all. With the Lord’s help, however, we can do so. Pray that He will open your heart to forgive, to be generous and giving to others—even if they have not given to us in like measure.

Ask the Lord to help you give with love and generosity today.

(I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Home is Where the Mom Is about 
The Morning Blues—Beating Them.)

Monday, April 14, 2014

A to Z Blogging -- L is for Light


Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works,
and give glory to your Father Who is in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16

What does it mean to let your light shine before men (and women and children too)? It means to let others see who you are in Christ.

When you let your light shine, His love for you and for others will show in your attitude, in your words, in your actions. When He is an integral part of your life, every day, your light will naturally shine.

Your light will shine when you let someone go ahead of you in the line at the grocery store, when you give a smile to the mom whose kids are acting up in public, when you invite a friend to church, when you offer encouragement to someone who is going through a down time, when you visit someone who cannot leave home. Then, when you have the chance, give the glory to the Lord. Share that you are able to shine because you know the Lord and His forgiveness, love and peace.

Every day I ask the Lord to guide me to show His love, no matter what I am doing—working at the surgery center, or the college, or just going about my every day errands. I want everything I do to reflect His love. I desire for others to know His love, His peace, the joy of knowing Him. Ask the Lord to be with you, to shine through you.

How are you going to let your light shine today?

(I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Home is Where the Mom Is.
Click over and read “Life Skills to Teach Your Kids”.)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A to Z Blogging -- K is for Knowledge

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
and knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
Proverbs 9:10

The wise lay up knowledge.
Proverbs 10:14

Unwise decisions—those made without knowledge—have the potential of throwing our lives into a downward spiral. Bad decisions have negative consequences…which can lead to more bad decisions and more negative consequences.

Decisions made with knowledge usually have positive results; continued knowledgeable decisions will put our lives on a positive path, one that will bring us joy and glorify the Lord.

Proverbs 9:10 tells us that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”  The word “fear” does not mean “running away and screaming in fear” but rather respect, reverence and humility of the Lord. The Lord, through His Word, the Bible, offers us the knowledge that we need to make good and godly moral decisions.

The Bible doesn’t tell us outright what to do if we are confronted with an overbearing boss, or a cranky coworker, selfish spouse, backstabbing brother, or other temptations galore, it does give us the principles of how to deal with these situations and more—many more—in fact, any situation we may be confronted with.

When we study the Bible we gain knowledge—we lay it up in our hearts. When we are familiar with God’s words we will be ready when (not if) we face difficult situations. And if you are involved in a situation where you just don’t know how to act, ask Him. He will lead and guide you.

The book of Proverbs is a collection of wise words. Consider using it for Bible study for a month or more, reading the chapter of Proverbs corresponding to the date. Today, April 12th, read Proverbs 12.

(I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Home is Where the Mom Is. Today I’m blogging on the topic of “Kids; Bringing God into Their Lives.”)

Friday, April 11, 2014

A to Z Blogging -- J is for Joyful


“What gain has the worker from his toil? …I perceived that there is nothing better for them to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.”
Ecclesiastes 3:9, 12-13

We do not know what our lives will bring. We do know that there will be heart ache, and heart break. There will be stress and sadness. And some days will seem long, tedious and even boring.

But we also know that the years God grants us here on earth are nothing compared to what we will have, living in eternity with the Lord.

But God does not intend us to live unhappily here on earth. He wants us to have fun! He wants us to be joyful in what we are doing! He wants us to take pleasure in eating and drinking (not to excess of course!) He wants us to take pleasure in our toil. It is His gift to us—that we will be joyful in our daily lives.

Here are a few things I am joyful about today:
  • Hearing the birds sing and only wearing a light sweatshirt when I walked Jenny (the beagle) early this morning.
  • Finding out that the “zinging” pain in my tooth was just a “strained ligament”—not a cracked tooth or broken filling as I feared—not treatment required (but no more chewing my favorite candy mints!). And I laughed with joy when the receptionist told me “There is no charge for your visit today!”
  • Talking with a friend who was down, and planning to spend a day with her.
  • Finishing the laundry!
  • Talking to my sister. 
  • Writing this blog post! I’m joyful when I am using the talents God has given me and I pray what I write gives you joy and encouragement, as well.
  • Making and enjoying a (to me) gourmet dish of pasta, fresh asparagus, and freshly grated parmesan cheese. 

What made you joyful today?

(I’m also blogging at Home is Where the Mom Is .
Click over to read “Just five Minutes? Twenty-five Things You Can Do.”)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A to Z Blogging -- I is for..."I"

“I am the Way…”

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

Years ago, before I read the verse at the beginning of this post, I didn't know how to respond to people who made statements like this:

“It doesn't matter what you believe, or who you believe in—as long as you BELIEVE, you will go to heaven. And even if you don’t really believe, if you live a good life God will love you and take you to heaven.”

But if you believe in the Bible it’s very clear;  to have eternal life with God, one must believe in Jesus, God’s Son, who came to earth to die for us and forgive us of all of our sins, and then, on the first Easter, rose from the dead.

It doesn’t matter how strongly  anyone believes in any other god or any other being. It doesn’t matter how many times a person goes to church, or how many “good” things he or she does, or how much money is given to charity, or how many prayers are said, or …well, or anything else. All that matters is believing the truth—that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

To be clear, God does love us, even if we do not love or believe in Him. But we will not spend eternity with Him unless we do believe in Him. This is not exclusive, but rather inclusive; inclusive of absolutely everyone who believes. It does not depend on a certain amount of money in the checking account, a  high-status the job, “enough” friends, how good looking, how many “good” things done.

Our salvation is through grace—God’s undeserved love for us. We could never do enough to “deserve” it; all we have to do—all we can do—is accept it. We are blessed!

Peter said, of Jesus, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other
name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4:12

If you hear one of the statements at the beginning of this post, gently and kindly point out these verses that show the true—the only!--way to heaven.  

(I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Home is Where the Mom Is. Today’s post is based on Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things…”)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A to Z Blogging -- H is for Hope


Paul said, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Romans 15:13

What are you hoping for today? An easy day at work? Spring to get here and stay? A shorter to-do list?

Or are you hoping for something much more important, like the restoration of a broken relationship, relief from financial stress, or the return of health in yourself or someone you love?

Look at the Lord’s track record—He has kept every single promise He ever made. He offers us, through the Holy Spirit, hope; hope that gives us joy and peace. Of course we hope for things here on the earth—health, financial stability, relationships. But because of sinfulness in the world we will probably never have everything we hope for.

However, even in difficult times here on earth we can find true joy and deep, abiding peace because we do believe in Him. We believe in God the Father, who made the heavens and earth, who made us, and who blessed us with His Son, Jesus, who came to earth, died, and rose again. Jesus conquered death so that we have, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the absolute hope, the absolute knowledge that we will live in heaven, our true, eternal home, with Him.

What are you hoping for today? Pray about that hope, knowing that “…for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

(I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Home is Where the Mom Is , where you’ll find some put-to-use-right-away tips for Health, Steps to Improving Yours.)

Remember to comment on this post or any other post between now and Saturday at midnight to be entered to win the gift basket pictured below! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A to Z Blogging -- G is for Gifts


Peter writes, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks words of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 4:10

Paul tells us, “Now there are varieties of gifts, from the same Spirit…to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge…to another faith…to another gifts of healing…All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”
1 Corinthians 12:4-11

 God has given every one of us gifts, and we are commanded to use those gifts. We each have different gifts, but none are more or less important than any other. Paul compares our varied gifts as parts of the body; all the parts of the body are important, and the body cannot function without all of its parts (1 Corinthians 12:14-18).

What is your gift? Are you good at organizing events? Do you like to encourage moms of young children? Are you a patient listener? Do you love caring for children? Do you have a knack for writing? Are you a prayer warrior? Do you have a way to talk to elderly people with dementia?

Peter tells us everyone has a gift—and that includes you! Not sure what your gift is? What do you enjoy doing? What are you good at doing? Can you do those things to the glory of the Lord? If so, that is probably one of your gifts. If you are not sure what your gift is, or how to use it, ask the Lord to show you.

What is YOUR gift? How will you use it today?
I have a gift for one of YOU! Leave a comment on a blog post between now and
Saturday and you will be entered into a random drawing to win 
a gift package (pictured below) containing two devotion books, pen, magnet book-mark, magnetic refrigerator note pad, refrigerator magnets, Scripture cards that you can give away to encourage others, and more! The winner will be randomly selected Saturday evening and announced on Sunday! Click "follow by e-mail" in the right hand column of this blog and receive posts via e-mail so you don't miss any! 

(I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Home is Where the Mom Is . Check it out!)

Monday, April 7, 2014

A to Z Blogging -- F is for Falls


“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the one who falls and has no one to help him up!!”  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Friends are one of God’s greatest blessings. But even the best of friends can disappoint—after all, they are only humans, with the failures and follies of all humans and the earthly demands that naturally divide attention among many people and things.  

When you fall down, literally or figuratively, your earthly friends will be there for you…most of the time. They might have the right answers for you…some of the time. They will be there support you…many times.

But there is one Friend who will never, ever disappoint. He will be there for you…all of the time. He has the right answers…every single time. He will support and encourage you…any and every time you need support and encouragement.

Remember your earthly friends, but never forget the One Friend who is always there for you, every time you fall down in any way.  

How do you help a friend who has fallen? How have friends helped you when you’ve fallen?

Thank God for your friends today, and thank Him for being the One Friend Who will never disappoint.

 (I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Home is Where the Mom Is. Click to read "Financial Sites and Advice, My Favorite".)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A to Z Blogging -- E is for Every

Every Thought

Paul commanded, “…and take every thought captive to obey Christ…”
2 Corinthians 10:5b

Thoughts are powerful. They can build us up, or wear us down. They can encourage, or discourage.

How often do you have discouraging thoughts?

Thoughts of “I’m not good enough.”

“God can never forgive my sins—they are too bad.”

“I will never succeed at what I’m trying to do.”

“I am a failure at marriage…as a parent…at my job…as a daughter…as a Christian…in everything.”

These thoughts that come from disappointment can lead to a spiral of discouragement and despair.

Take these thoughts captive! Tell yourself, “That is not true. That is not how the Lord sees me!” and then replace them with positive thoughts

“The Lord has chosen you to be a people for His treasured possession.” 
Deuteronomy 14:2

“…casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.” Psalm 56:3

“Whatever is true…honorable…just…pure…lovely…commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8

What thoughts are YOU going to “take captive” today?

(I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Home is Where the Mom Is . The post for today is titled “E-mail…More Productive Things to do than to Check Yet Again.” Check it out!)

Friday, April 4, 2014

A to Z Blogging -- D is for Desire

“Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
Psalm 73:25-26

This Psalm was written by Asaph, a song leader in the tabernacle, appointed by David. Throughout the Psalm he laments how the wicket and arrogant seem to prosper. As the Psalm concludes he realizes that the value of what we have as believers is eternal. His faith in the Lord is strengthened when He looks to the Lord, not to the world.  Things of the world will end and fail, but God is eternal.

What do you truly desire?

 Is is the Lord? Are you sure?

What do your words and actions show that you desire the most?

Take some time today to think about what you truly desire—and if/how your words and actions show this. How do you show your desire for the Lord through your words and actions?  
(I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Home is Where the Mom Is. Today’s list will provide suggestions for "Deepening Your Relationship with God." Check it out!)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A to Z Blogging -- C is for Comfort


Paul says, “Praise be to the God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
1 Corinthians 1:3-4

During tough times we can find comfort in knowing that no matter what the circumstances, the Lord loves us and cares for us and forgives us. Jesus was made man when He came to earth as a baby and throughout His life He felt the emotions that we feel. Hebrews 4:15 tells us, “Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because He was tempted just as we are, the only difference being He did not sin.”  

How has He comforted you during tough times? Did He send a friend, or a job, or financial help? Comforting words from someone who had experienced similar circumstances? Did He lead you to a Bible passage appropriate to your situation? Did you feel the comfort of His presence and peace?

Who in your life needs comforting right now? A friend who has lost a child? The neighbor who lost his job? The child who didn’t get into the college of choice? Someone whose marriage is going through a difficult time, or even ending?

Today, thank God for the ways He comforted you, and ask Him how you can comfort someone in your life, perhaps sharing your experiences while going through a similar difficult time.

Who are you going to comfort today, and how?

(I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Home is Where the Mom Is; A Christian Mom's Guide. Today’s post lists some of my favorite Chapters in the Bible. Check it out!)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A to Z Blogging -- B is for Beautiful


He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Ecclesiastes 3:11

Some things in life aren't beautiful at all. A health battle. A child going down the wrong path. The loss of a job.

When my marriage broke up it was definitely not beautiful. It was ugly. It was sad. It was – and is –the most UN-beautiful thing, the biggest disappointment and failure in my life.

Many days are still very hard, but after time I am seeing some beautiful things come out of the pain.

A much deeper faith and dependence on the Lord.

Wonderful new friends.

Jobs I love.

Most of all, the absolute knowledge that I am forgiven by the Lord, for every single sin. I am forgiven and free from the weight, the guilt, the ugliness of those sins.  

What could be more beautiful?

How have you seen God make a dark time in your life beautiful? 

Are you in a dark time in your life? Take a few minutes today to pray to God to show you even a glimpse of what is beautiful. And if you know a friend going through a hard time, show her a glimpse of beauty in sharing His love; send a card with His encouraging words, pray for her, send a grocery store gift card anonymously, share a hug.  

(I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Home is Where the Mom Is

Check it out!)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A to Z Blogging Challenge -- A is for Always


I have set the Lord always before me;
because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Psalm 16:8

What has shaken your world today?

Financial troubles? Illness? A troubled relationship? Worries about a loved one?

Set the Lord before you. Read His Word.  Talk to Him through prayer. Sing His praises.

Take heart; He promises that He is always at your right hand.  

How has the Lord been at your right hand?

(I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at www.achristianmomsguide.blogspot.com.

Check it out!)

A to Z Blogging Challenge!

by Shelly Burke, Editor

I'm so excited to be taking part in the A to Z Blogging Challenge! I will be blogging Monday through Saturday, every week in April. Blog entries will begin with the letter of the day--today is "A", tomorrow is "B", etc.

I've chosen a Bible verse for each day; the first word, or a key word in that verse will begin with the letter of the day. I'll have a brief devotion--sometimes just a single sentence and/or question, about that verse. I pray that the devotions will "inspire, encourage and motivate you in your Christian walk."

That's also the mission of the Nebraska Family Times, the newspaper I publish every month. Elsewhere in this blog you can read more about the  About Shelly and the Nebraska Family Times , and if you'd like a FREE sample issue of the paper, e-mail your name and address to me at shelly@shellyburke.net. Yes, the Nebraska Family Times is an "old-fashioned" newspaper, delivered to your mailbox! Every month you'll read articles by local and nationally-known authors, all from a Christian point of view. You'll also read about state and local events and organizations; in April the feature article was a wrap-up of the Global Passions Ministries Team goes to Nicaragua for Fifth Mission Trip.

If you'd like to receive the A to Z posts by e-mail, sign up under the picture of the April newspaper, in the sidebar, in the "Follow by e-mail" box. During the month we'll have give-aways of devotional books and other fun items as well!

I welcome comments about the Nebraska Family Times and the entries for the A to Z Blogging Challenge! Enjoy reading and God's blessings to you!