Fire and trials

Thanks to all of you who have read my posts, kept me in your prayers and offered words of encouragement and comfort. A couple of the recent comments had reminded me of a word God had given to me some years ago.

A sword when formed the materials chosen are put through the fire, stretched, folded, and hammered. This is done over and over until the blade is formed. The more the blade is folded the stronger it becomes. The part I am focused on today is the fire which inspired by both a recent painting I had posted, ‘Going through the fire’, and a current one that I have been working on for a client, ‘Risen’. Risen is not ye finished and neither are the rest of us. I like to say we are a work in progress and God is not done with us yet. Both paintings represent fire.

Risen unfinished by Julie Sheppard
Through the Fire by Julie Sheppard

First thought of fire you think of destruction. Homes and forests burned to the ground. Getting burned. Yet fire is not just destructive. You cook with fire. Create with it. Fire can be scary but look at Daniel’s friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abed Nego. They refused to bow down to and idol and were thrown into a fiery furnace. They did not burn and they came out not even smelling of smoke. Then think of the Holy Spirit Fire. We grow when we go through the fire. We are refined. We are made stronger. In the painting immediately above I had explained in a previous post. The current painting which is unfinished I will tell it’s story when it is finished. Clay pots are put into kilns and baked. God is referred to as The Potter and we are His clay, to be molded and shaped into vessel He can use. This also means to be made solid we too must go through the fire. I am not sure how long it is going to take for me to finish my current painting but I will post it when it is finished.

Remember His fire will not harm you but make you stronger!

Waiting 5/23/2021

Well I am still in a waiting period. My procedure has been rescheduled for the second time. So I have another two weeks of waiting. I had joked with the woman handling my case that I could have given birth to a baby in the time I have been laid up, and off work.

For a person who is not patient this is frustrating. I am the type who wants to figure out the solution to the problem then get it done. Now my body has been in the care of others and I am not happy that the original doctor kept telling me the problem I was having with the swelling and discoloration in my arm was normal, to find out that it wasn’t and now I have these multiple procedures that need to be done. I would have liked these things to have been found out sooner and dealt with earlier. Unfortunately when others are in control of deciding what care you get things can go wrong and things can be delayed.

Yet through it all God has been with me. He has never left my side and He understands my frustration and He knows I don’t blame Him. Once upon a time I would have. I would have asked Him ‘What have I done wrong?’ or a long list of other things that would either blame myself or Him. Thankfully through life and a relationship with Jesus I have learned neither are true.

Waiting is not always pleasant and times are difficult. Life is not easy and even a bed of roses has it’s thorns, and needs to be fertilized. I plant seeds and there buried beneath the soil some grow and some don’t. They also don’t grow at the same time. Some you plant in fall to see bloom in the spring, and others just after winter to see them grow in the fall. They all have the waiting period. During our times of waiting we too grow and eventually bloom and produce fruit. I don’t know what will grow in me during through this time. I guess I just have to wait in see. Trust that God will see me through, and He will get me to the other side.

Numbers 9:8

Moses therefore said to them, “Wait, and I will listen to what the Lord will command concerning you.”

Absent Me

I have not been on here for a while. Still out on workers comp. Thankful that the specialist is having my first of three procedures done this coming week. Being stuck home with limited use of my arm has been challenging and the isolation has not helped. Thankfully God understands my frustrations, and is patient with me. I did finally finish the paintings that was commissioned and have been asked for a third painting. Thankfully they understand my current circumstances and said to take my time. They loved the two paintings I had done for them and the best compliment I have ever received is they told me they felt the anointing. I have also been inspired to start a new writing project. A book on prayer for those who don’t want to pray or think they can’t. It is not for the religious and I will probably get criticized, but it is for those who are hurting or so angry they don’t want to pray because they are afraid if they open their mouths, that what will come out God will not like. It will not be a lengthy book. It will be more like a booklet. My computer time is limited because of the pain and limited use of my arm, but I am finding comfort in doing something. There of course has been a major increase in prayer time since I have not been able to sleep very much. So another positive use of time. After the procedure this week I will be laid up for recuperation time but hopefully that will only be a few days. It will not give me use of my arm back but it will help stop the constant pain and then the doctor will be able to go on to the next step. So I may be absent for a while longer but will be back soon.

God bless and prosper you and your loved ones.

Reality (Fact or Fiction)

What is reality? Is it real? To be honest with you AI am not so sure. Reality T.V. is abundant, covering all areas of life, but to me it isn’t real. It is just a way for someone to make money off of people behaving badly. You don’t need to have talent to be famous these days. So what is real? Is reality real or a work of fiction? I look around the world today and see that people can say whatever they want and say it is true, even when it is definitely not. Fact, fiction, truth or lies, seem to have no true meaning anymore. I have looked back on my own life and wondered how much of it is true. Have I just been living in some dream or at times it is more likely to say a nightmare?  Once upon a time, you could read a newspaper and it would actually have real facts. Journalists were accountable for what they wrote; you could trust the majority of what you read. Now even the news isn’t real. It is opinions, and temper tantrums, or exploitation of people’s private lives that is none of our business.

So once again I ask the question what is real? There is only one answer for me, and that is Jesus is the Son of God, who is my Heavenly Father, Creator, the Great I Am. Jesus paid the price for my sins dying on a cross and rose on the third day to give me life. Jesus is my Lord and Savior. He has gone to prepare a place to take me home to. He has given me His Holy Spirit to be my Helper and Comforter. I have hope because of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit that no matter how bad this life gets, and no matter what happens that I am going to be okay because He is never going to leave me and that His love I can always count on because it is the ONLY real thing to me in this world.

These are my thoughts. God bless and keep you, in Jesus name.

January 14, 2021

It has now been a little over four months since I hurt my arm and shoulder at work. I still do not know when I will be able to return to work and waiting for approval to see an orthopedic doctor. It has been difficult not being able to work and still not able to drive. I feel like I have been grounded, and the lack of use of my prominent arm has made being home not being able to do the simplest task aggravating, but I am thankful that God has been with me through it all and He will remain by my side. Through the pain and sleepless nights I have had Him to count on. So today I just want to thank God for His faithful love and that no matter how I may feel I know He loves me.

Notes on message of love/Dec. 26, 2020

Notes on message of love/Dec. 26, 2020

Continuing to work on the message of love and still welcoming any insights and even corrections. God bless you all.

The subject of love has so many parts, that it can be seen as a body. You read in the Bible how the church is called a body with many parts.

1 Corinthians 12:12-27 NLV (One Body with Many Parts) 12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.] 14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? 18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” 22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. 27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.

God being Love. can be seen as having three parts.

  • 1 John 4:8 – But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
  • 1 John 4:16 – We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.  
  1. God, the Heavenly Father, Creator of heaven earth and man. The great I Am.
  2. Jesus, Son of God. The Word made flesh. Our Savior and Redeemer.
    1 John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
  3. Holy Spirit, The Spirit of God. Our Helper and Comforter. Genesis 2:7 Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.

Three that are one. Read 1 Corinthians 12 again and see how we are to be one body. One body has many different parts. Dissect a body and you can see how many parts there are and how they are connected. In a healthy body all the parts are performing their purpose and working together with the other parts. If one part of the body becomes weak, sick or quits, it effects the whole body. The body becomes sick and if left untreated it could die. Each part relies on another part to function and work together. Unified as one.

A problem with love in the world today is that each part is operating separately. Neglecting the needs of the other parts the individual part is only concerned about its’ own needs and desires. That part is selfish and does not care if their actions hurt anyone else. If you read 1 Corinthians 13 you will see that being selfish or demanding is not love. God’s desires for us to become one united in Love. Working together. Understanding each part is equal to the other and no part is greater. One body with one heart, and He is the head.Each part of the body working together, supporting each other in life and love.

1 Corinthians 13 :4-5 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Notes for a message on love Dec. 17, 2020

Notes for a message on love Dec. 17, 2020

Continuing the work on the message on love. Still open to any comments or corrections from anyone in the ministry. This is not a complete work, but part of my studies and thoughts as I research the subject of love in relation to God and how His love transforms us.

Jeremiah 32:38-40
38 They will be my people, and I will be their God.
39 I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them.
40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me.
Fear in this scripture (Stong’s 3372 yare pronounced yaw-ray, primitive root to fear) in Hebrew means to revere.
יָרֵא yârêʼ, yaw-ray’; a primitive root; to fear; morally to revere; causatively to frighten:—affright, be (make) afraid, dread(-ful), (put in) fear(-ful, -fully, -ing), (be had in) reverence(-end), × see, terrible (act, -ness, thing).
When you first read the word fear, what comes to mind? Being afraid, scared, even terrified. This is not what fear means in this scripture though. Here it means to revere.
With so many words having different meaning it is important to know it’s context, to understand it’s true meaning. So when you see the word fear in this scripture, and understanding the meaning helps to understand God is putting a reverance to Him in their hearts. This is why I like to use a concordance in my studies so I can get to the root words being used to understand what is being said.
KJV dictionary defines revere-
REVE’RE, v.t. L. revereor; re and vereor, to fear.
To regard with fear mingled with respect and affection; to venerate; to reverence; to honor in estimation.
Further study is now showing how the word fear used in this verse is related to affection/love. So we can now see that it is God that is the One, putting a love for Him into our hearts.

Notes for a message on love Dec. 15, 2020 continued

Here are more notes, as this subject has both the attention of my heart and mind. My cup seems to be overflowing tonight. I welcome any comments, suggestions and corrections from any of you who are in the ministry, because I want to be true and correct as I prepare this message. Thank you.

7:20p.m.
I just had a thought. Not sure how it will relate to assisting on preparations on the sermon on love. Nonetheless here is my current thought.
In preparing a message on love, am I not showing Who love is? God is LOVE. He has been known to be a vengeful God to be feared. How can one relate this God to being the God who Is LOVE? Jesus taught us that there is no greater love than for a man to lay down his life for another. (John 15:13) The thing is that Jesus the Son of God suffered the cross and died to pay the price of all of our sins. Not just for those who walked with Him and loved Him, but even for those who cried out for Him to be crucified. Before any of us received Him as our Lord and Savior, we were His enemies. He died for His enemies! Jesus is LOVE, He is God’s Love. Any parent who has ever lost a child knows a pain that others who have not do not understand, but these parents know how God felt as He watched His son be crucified and buried. Even though God knew the grave would not hold Him, that moment of separation, that pain He suffered all for a creation who had turned their backs on Him. Tell me that is not a God of Love. Who could wipe this entire planet out in a blink of an eye and just start over, but He didn’t.l Instead He sent His ONLY Son down to a world that had ran so far away from Him, that they did not even realize who Jesus was. Over and over God has given man chance after chance to turn to Him, and even today there are many who still reject Him, who choose hatred over love. Those whose only love is for themselves. We need to learn what True Love is, and Who True Love is. I know I am repeating myself but True Love is God! He is the Good Father, the Shepherd who would leave the 99 to after the one lost one. (Matthew 18:12-14) The Father who does not just receive His prodigal child who ran off to live life in his or her own way. Then realizes that they would have a better life to be a servant in their father’s house. So returns home to find their father running out to meet them and take them home and celebrate their return. (Luke 15:11-32)
I can find and think of so many examples of God’s love in scripture, and this subject has helped refuel my spirit, which to be honest was starting to run on fumes.

earlier notes – Notes for a message on love Dec. 15, 2020

Notes for a message on love Dec. 15, 2020

I have been asked to help prepare a sermon on love. Normally I would keep my notes on any lesson that I was going to teach on to myself and then present the lesson when it was finished in the classroom. Since I am not a pastor/preacher and do not feel called to this position feel lead to share my personal notes and hope for feedback from those who are. I do feel called to be an armor bearer, a support to the leadership role of the pastor. So being asked to help in preparing a sermon can be a task that I can be requested of, and I am happy to do. I also know the accountability I have in doing this is important and do not want to present any wrong thoughts or teachings. So I will share my notes here and welcome any insight or corrections any of you who are pastors and would like to share your insights. My notes here will not list all of the scriptures I was given on this subject because that list is extensive, but would love to hear any scriptures you may suggest as well. These are just notes and not the message but I hope they speak to you.

Today’s notes:

The purpose of this is for the pastor to take the teachings taught by teachers on the subject of God’s love and transform them into a message that not only penetrates the mind, but transforms the heart with the Love Of God, and with His Word, Who is Jesus Christ, The Word made flesh.
Comparison – God is Love, Jesus His Son is that love made flesh – Teachings and knowledge of God is in our minds, We know God is love but that knowledge has only been stored in our minds. (remember that even the demons knew who Jesus is, and they had to obey Him when He cast them out of the demon possesed man. They Knew Him, but they did not love Him. Matthew 8:28-34, Luke 8:26-37)
So my question to myself is this, ‘How do I take the lessons/teachings I have learned, and taught into a message/sermon that can penetrate and transform the hearts of the listener of this message?It is not my teachings, or even the lessons that I have learned but it is what His Word has taught me, and how He has been transforming me through His love and His Word that needs to be expressed. For I am only the clay and He is the Potter. He is taking this lump of mud and transforming me into His creation, not something the world has made on some assembly line, but a work of a true craftsman. Remember, while Jesus was on this earth, he was also known as a carpenter, before people came to know him as The Messiah.

Can’t or Won’t

Can’t or Won’t

Having physical limitations before I was injured at work back in September I struggled with what things I can’t do. These limitations have often been a source of frustration for me. Mainly because there was so much more that I could once do. Now my what my body is able do and not able to do limits me from what type of jobs I can do, and how many hours I am able to work in a day. This in turn effects my finances which is another sore subject for me. I have not been able to work since September 1st because I was hurt doing my job. It has take three months just to get partial use of my right arm back and I am still unable to drive, and even clean mu home. I am a grown woman who has literally been grounded, I have even limited my computer time because it is painful to type and get tired of doing the left handed peck. It is nice to finally not have to wear the arm brace all the time, but I miss being able to do simple little things and not that I have gotten great at using my left hand it has become calloused from being used to do things I normally do with my right hand. Now to get on to the real point of this post, and that is there are things were are not able to do for what ever reason they may be, we literally can’t do certain things.

Now there are things that we can do but we do not want to for various reasons, and so we tell others we can’t, when it is really that we won’t. Maybe because it is an inconvenience, or maybe because the person asking has done something you do not agree with. Maybe there is a game or show you really don’t want to miss so the timing is bad for you. I can go on and on with reasons we won’t do something for another, and some of those reasons are good ones. It is how ever not something you are not capable of doing. It is that you won’t.

Can I fly? No since I am not a bird and do not have wings, but I can get on a plane. So if I buy a ticket and board a plane I can fly to where the plane is going. Now if I do not have the money to buy the ticket than I can’t get on the plane. Now do I want to fly to where the plane is going? If it is a place that does not interest me and I don’t want to then I do not have to buy the ticket because that is a trip I won’t be taking. This is my choice. I have the money but do not want to go, so I choose to stay home.

When my Mom died not only was I dealing with the pain of losing her, I did not have money to make the trip for her funeral, yet my church learned of this and they funded the trip, so I was able to go. I did not have the ability to make the trip on my own but they made it possible. They could have not offered and I would have missed her funeral, but they were more than happy to help me in my time of need. They made a way for me and helped me through a painful period in my life. They were able to help and they did.

This brings me to someone who did not have to do anything for the people who hated Him. Who lived according to their own way, and who rejected Him. God did not have to send us His Son Jesus, and Jesus did not have to go. They chose to love and Jesus gave His life for a world filled with sinners and had not even repented. God could have wiped out this earth and started over but did not. He created us and loved us even though we have caused Him so much pain. Jesus knew what He was coming to this earth to do and why. Still He came suffered and died to pay a price He did not have to. Even while praying He asked His Father if there was any other way that this cup He would drink from could pass from Him, but He said not His will but His Father’s be done. (I know I did not write His prayer exactly as it was written, but you get the point) Jesus did not say ‘I won’t do this for them, look at how they have treated me’. He did what He had taught, and showed there was no greater love than for a man to lay down his life for another. He did what no other could do and paid the debt for all of our sins.

I thank God everyday that He did not say I can’t do that, or I won’t do that. He just loved us as we were and hoped that we would receive Him. So do not think that Jesus can’t save you, He already did. It is up to you to make a choice to repent, and do not say that you can’t, because the hard part was done for you. Please don’t say you won’t, because it will hurt more than you think.