They Want to Brand Her!

 

“They want to brand me,” my friend said.

Be at peace, y’all. It’s not as ominous as it sounds. My friend Joneal and I were talking business and all things Jesus when the conversation turned to branding. Dr. Joneal Kirby is the creator and director of a mentoring ministry for women called, Heart to Home. I’ll be mentioning her name more in the coming months as I have the privilege of speaking at her really big, extremely fun Heart to Home conference early 2015, along with a few ladies you may know from a little show called Duck Dynasty. Yes, girls. Y’all will need to get thy-selves to Monroe, LA for this one.

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Because of her Heart to Home ministry, Joneal has been using The Heart Mom title for some time, but the promotional people were saying they needed her given name to be synonymous with her life’s work. When folks hear The Heart Mom, they should think of Joneal, and vice versa. It sounded familiar. That’s what my publishing house told me several years ago, that they needed to personalize the All Things Southern brand and identify it with yours truly. Trust me, I shot down a number of their suggestions before we agreed on The Belle of All Things Southern. Imagine my using “The Dixie Diva”. My family and friends would’ve laughed me straight out of this small town!

Friends, I mention all of this branding talk to tell you of a goal that is dearer to me than any professional title and I know The Heart Mom feels the same way.

I want to be branded with the name of my Jesus. When you hear me, I may you think of Him, and when you think of Him, may you linger and listen for His voice. For as He Himself said in John 6:63, it is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words He speaks are spirit and they are life.”

Hugs, Shellie

Beware the Stealthy Fog

A light fog blanketing the landscape can be calming to the soul. Sitting on my back porch, for instance, talking to the Good Lord while the early morning is trying to slip out of its thin pale robe. That’s a nice prescription for peace.

There are other times when fog is less appreciated, say when you’re driving, or how about when it begins to roll up from the floorboards of an airplane cabin as you’re flying through the friendly skies with a group of polite strangers? That’s not so relaxing. But, that’s exactly where I found myself a couple years ago.

I remember how uncomfortable my fellow travelers and I were at the onset of the mist and I remember how our pilot’s cheerful announcement over the PA did little to alleviate our growing apprehension, not when he told us it was “nothing to be concerned about”, not when he explained the small “incidental wiring issue” behind it. We were eager to settle down, just as soon as we got our feet on the ground. In the end, the fog of smoke dissipated as slowly as it had arrived and we landed without incident.

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“Don’t worry, be happy” may have worked that day but you and I would be foolhardy to adopt it as a blanket prescription against all early warning signs and especially not the internal God-given monitor of our conscience. The snare that trips us up in the walk of faith is rarely the obvious one.

Sin is stealthy and apathy, why, apathy rolls in as silently and insidiously as a fog. Our inner warning system goes off when we first start choosing other activities over church, when we quit praying quite as often and open our Bibles even less. But it grows fainter over time. The less attention we pay to the growing fog of apathy, the more it builds until we can’t see the forest for the trees and we can’t find the way back home to Jesus if our lives depended on it. And they do.

Hugs, Shellie

Refusing to Choose is a Choice

As I type these words to you our country is either in a war or we aren’t, depending on who you are talking to and what day of the week it is. For those who say we are in a war, it’s against ISI, or ISIS, or ISIL. The latest faces of evil have changed their name more often than that rapper Snoop Doggy Dog, who became Snoop Dog, and then Snoop Lion and is currently calling himself Todd. I could probably find some humor in that any other time, but not right now. I’m deadly serious about what I want to say today.

By any name, the terrorists behind the execution of two of our American journalists, a British aid worker, and ten thousands of other men, women, and children in the middle east are heinous murderers. They may be divided on their designated title but they are stone cold clear and united to a thug on their mission: to kill anyone who gets in their way of establishing a global Islamic caliphate ruled by sharia law. That may sound like a preposterous goal to our western ears, but our opinion doesn’t faze their focus.

I hear many of my fellow Americans protesting that they are weary of war. I’m with them. If only war would grow weary of us. Amen? You and I can distance ourselves from the news and the numbers and it won’t change the reality. The killers aren’t at all tired of killing.

Frankly, the whole thing reminds me of the times I’ve talked to people who claim they aren’t religious, as if they can choose not to engage and that be the end of it. If that’s you, friend, I hope you’ll hear me out today. Refusing to acknowledge that you have an enemy of your soul, doesn’t negate the devil’s existence– it just provides him and his legions cover to advance.

I’ll close with the words of the prophet Elijah, “How long will you hesitate between two sides? If the Lord is God, follow Him.”

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