Shells from all over the world:   Sea of Galilee to Bora Bora, and all  places in between.

by Tammy Phillips
July 18, 2020

So, God created man in His [own] image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. – Genesis 1:27 NKJV

One of my greatest joys is going to the beach and collecting seashells.  Every shore that I have travelled to around the world offers different shells.  I was amazed by God when we traveled to the Polynesian Islands.  One atoll was not a mile wide.  It could easily be traversed from side to side.  Not only did that island have different shells than the other islands, each side of the island offered different treasures.

Why does shelling bring me such joy? I have thought about this for days now.

Shells are perfect architecture created by God.
Shells are different sizes.
Shells are different shapes.
Shells are different colors.
Every shell is special.
Every shell is different.
Every shell is fragile.
Every shell is beautiful.
Every shell is unique.
Each shell is like a precious jewel.
Every shell is a treasure to me.

When I am blessed to visit the beach, I want to take all the shells home with me. They just bring me great joy.

Why in the world would I ever place more value on a shell than a human life?

I do not do it consciously.  However, If I walk by your human shell that is sick or hurting, I have done just that.  If you are not the right size, shape or color and I cast you off as broken or worthless, I have done just that.  If I speak unkindly to you, am I valuing you?  If I ignore you and pass by your pain, have I not devalued you as less than the shell that I have stopped and taken care of as treasured creation of God?

Why can’t we, as a whole, recognize and value every human as perfected architecture created by God?  Yes, we all have little imperfections caused by life.  We all have made wrong choices.  We have all sinned.  Why do we so easily judge the human shell: the size, the shape, the color, the imperfections and the flaws?  Why do we not choose to extend the grace so freely given to us as Christians?  Why can we not appreciate the soft bodied being that is hidden inside and created in the image of God?

We will shed our human shell.  It will die, our spirits will not.  Isn’t it time to stop and take time to look at what is on this inside of the shell?  We need to slow down and treasure each human.  We need to see each person as God sees them.

Every shell has been on a journey and every shell has a story to tell.

I enCOURAGE you to love, appreciate and treasure every human shell that you come in contact with.  Take time to stop and listen.  This will not be easy.   We do not like the interruptions. (Jesus didn’t mind them.)  This is going to be an intentional, on purpose, disciplined action.

P.S.  Remember, love what is inside your shell while you are at it.  You are worth it.IMG_4267


Whelk shell found at Shackleford Banks Island, NC.  2016

by Tammy Phillips
June 16, 2020


So, God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind…. And God saw that [it was] good. – Genesis 1:21 NKJV

I really, really like seashells.  I like collecting all kinds of shells.  I enjoy finding perfectly formed teeny, tiny shells and I delight in the great beauty of spiral shells, whether conch or whelk.  They are so intricately formed.  Shells are perfect architecture created by God.  I can see why God saw the goodness in His creation.

I was relaxing on our deck where we have a collection of whelk shells that Kris and I picked up in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  I was studying one old, weathered shell.  I noticed that it was formed layer upon layer, and step by step.  I thought to myself, “This must take forever to build.”  After a Google search, I found out that a mature whelk shell is formed in only about 5 years!  They drink in salt and chemicals from the sea, such as calcium and carbonate and mix it with proteins from their body to form their shells.  They must be laser focused… eat, reproduce, and build.  I guess they don’t get as easily deterred as we do, well, besides trying to survive from enemy predators and the huge storms that often accost them in the seas.  Their elaborate shells become their homes and a place of protection.  As the whelk matures, it makes space for its growing body by gradually enlarging and extending their shells by adding new, spiraling layers.

Isn’t that the way we grow, step by step, layer upon layer, precept upon precept?  We take in God’s word like the whelks takes in calcium carbonate.  His word builds up our faith.

“So, then faith [comes] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”. – Romans 10:17 NKJV

Then like the whelk, we put on the whole armor of God, that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, our predator. (Ephesians 6:11).

And, “above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (Ephesians 6:16 NKJV)

We build our invisible shells by hearing the word and putting on the full armor of God, including the shield of faith.  The more we absorb from the Living Water, the stronger we grow.  And just like the whelk, each new layer in Him is a step up, bringing us closer to maturity in Him.   Each step of faith we take thickens our shell, protecting us from the storms of life and from our enemy whose mission is to destroy us.  Each new layer of faith in us creates the spiral that is our life.

I enCOURAGE you to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:14).  I enCOURAGE you to spiral up.  Take in God’s word however possible and obey it.  Keep taking steps forward in Christ, Word upon Word and precept upon precept.

The steps of a [good] man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. – Psalm 37:23 KJV

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Look at these spiral shells. You can so vividly see each step in the smaller shell.  Fun fact whelks are the cold water equivalent to tropical water conchs.





Shackleford Island, 2016

by Tammy Phillips
June 16, 2020

And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! [for then] would I fly away and be at rest. – Psalm 55:6 KJV

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31 KJV

A big bird with expansive wings soared by my window.  He was riding the wind.  I wanted to follow him.  Honestly, I wanted to be taken away like the cottonwood seed who flies so effortlessly through the air.  Wouldn’t you like to fly off?  Today, I would.  Let’s go on a journey and pretend that we are flying to our happy place, the beach.  Travel with me?  I will come meet you and we will take off.  We will let the breeze take us as far south, east, or west as we choose.  We will glide and see the majesty of God’s creation as we go. The view from above is breathtaking. There is so much freedom in the flight.  We did not have to pack, and we carry no baggage.  We are not constrained by time nor circumstance.

We approach our destination and as far as the eye can see, the ocean abides within its confines.  Innumerable shells of every size, color and shape beautifully litter the seashore.  We gently glide in for a landing.  We have arrived.

We choose our place to just “be.”  Toes in the wet sand.  Fingers are filtering the cool, dry, supple sand.  A brisk breeze is coming off the ocean.  Our lounge chairs are waiting on us.  They are skimming the edge of the tide.  A favorite chilled drink is plentiful and within reach.  The fruity smells of summer: creamy coconut, pineapple, banana and lime are generously applied.  The radiant rays are beaming down from the sun to kiss every inch of our bodies.   Settled in and eyes open wide to the vastness of God’s creation.  Breathe in.  No other smell is like that of the ocean.  It refreshes and renews.  The waves then begin the symphony that our ears have longed for as they crash in and rush out.

I enCOURAGE you to fly in the Spirit to your happy place today.  Take time to just “be.” Simply, breathe.  Breathe in the Lord and all that He is.

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I take the wings of the morning, [And] dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.” (Psalm 139:7,9-10 NKJV)


Sunset in Clarksville, Tennessee, June 13, 2020 

by Tammy Phillips
June 15, 2020

Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. – Acts 27:25 KJV

Be of good cheer means to be of good courage.  Saying “be of good cheer” in the New Testament is just like saying “be courageous” in the Old Testament.  Courage is a choice.  Courage is “doing it afraid.”  Look up the verses below for yourself.  In each case instructions are given to cheer up, to be courageous, with supporting reasons why.  Read these passages out loud to yourself and be encouraged.  Faith comes by hearing.  Hear yourself tell yourself why you should be of good cheer and watch your faith grow.

Be encouraged.
I believe God.
His word is true.
It will be just as it was told you.

Be of good courage.
Jesus sees your faith.
Your sins are forgiven.

It is Me, Jesus.
I am here.
I am with you.
Do not be afraid.

Be of good courage.
Jesus hears your cries.
Jesus stops for you.
Jesus calls you.
Jesus says: “Rise”

Be of good courage.
Jesus recognizes you.
Jesus does not care if you are woman, child, red, yellow, black or white.
Your faith has made you whole.
Go in peace.

Be of good courage.
Jesus speaks to you.
You will have tribulation and trouble.
You will have anguish and afflictions.
You will be persecuted and pressed.
You have peace in Jesus.
Jesus has overcome the world.

I enCOURAGE you to be of good cheer! Be of good cheer. Be of good cheer.  Choose to overcome every obstacle, every fear and every trial, courageously, in Him and through Him.  He was, is, and always will be our Savior.


IMG_4126by Tammy Phillips
June 14, 2020

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He [is] the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV

We have a choice: Faith or Fear.  For everything that discourages, we choose faith or fear.

Life comes at us hard. The enemy is relentless.  When I was less mature in the Lord, I vividly remember telling one of my fellow warrior sisters in Christ, Kristi Stephens, that I wish we could just get a break.  I wish that one day could pass without a battle.  We did not quite grasp it at the time, but we had caught a break. Jesus was broken for us.  He gave us the break we needed. We just have to accept what He did for us and bravely face whatever comes our way.  We should remain rooted in the Word.  Increasing in strength and knowledge that God Almighty, El Shaddai, lives inside of us.  He goes before us.  We can choose to be brave by abiding in the awareness that El Shaddai is walking with us. He is the bravest, mightiest, strongest and most powerful.  When we take Him at His word, we have absolutely nothing to fear.  Bravery is our choice when we come to know that we are overcomers in him.

I enCOURAGE you to be strong and of good courage. CHOOSE FAITH. TRUST GOD. BE COURAGEOUS.   It is the only way to make it through the day.  It is the only way to live in this present time.

The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion. (Proverbs 28:1 NKJV)

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJV)

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13 NKJV)

“Therefore, take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. (Acts 27:25 NKJV)

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4 NKJV)

What then shall we say to these things? If God [is] for us, who [can be] against us? (Romans 8:31 NKJV)


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Photo taken  by Julie Madison through her windshield  on the way home from work in Alpharetta, GA, February 26, 2020

by Tammy Phillips
June 13, 2020

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. – John 14:1 NKJV

 We have a choice: Faith or Fear.  For every doubt that dare enter our mind, we choose faith or fear.
Believe God.  (Mark 5:36)
Believe only and don’t be afraid.  (Luke 8:50)
Believe His wondrous works.  (Psalm 105:2)
Believe and you will be established.  (2 Chronicles 20:20)
Believe His Salvation.  (Mark 16:16)
Believe His Word.  (Mark 1:15)
Believe you receive what you ask.  (Mark 11:24)
Believe you are forgiven.  (1 John 1:9)
Believe and be saved.  (Acts 16:31)
Believe and signs will follow.  (Mark 16:17)
Believe God is always with you.  (Matthew 28:20)
Believe God will never leave nor forsake.  (Hebrews 13:5)
Believe and be made well.  (Luke 8:50)
Believe in His name.  Believe you are a son of God.  (John 1:12)
Believe and you will live FOREVER.   (John 3:36)
Believe God and all things are possible.  (Mark 9:23)

As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” – Mark 5:36 NKJV

As Christians, we trust God with our eternity, why do we have trouble believing Him in our today?


Photo credit: Yvonne O’Daniel, a Team Tennessee Mom, McAlester, OK 06/09/2020

by Tammy Phillips
June 12, 2020

Fear not, for I [am] with you; Be not dismayed, for I [am] your God.  I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10 NKJV

We have a choice: Faith or Fear.  For every fear that tries to enter our mind, we choose faith or fear.

How many times in God’s love letter to us do we hear, “Fear not?”  This is another command.  It is a strong encouragement.  Fear imprisons and faith in God is freedom.  Fear is being in awe of the enemy, what he says, what he whispers in out ears, what he does, and what he threatens.  God only wants us to be in fear of Him.  God expects our awe and amazement to be directed to Him alone.  We should not fear anyone nor anything.  This includes death; it includes life.  It includes disease.; it includes lack.  Fear is one of Satan’s favorites weapons.  If he can get us to abide in fear, he has gotten us to step out of complete faith in God.  Fear distracts us from the Savior, Comforter, Deliverer, Healer, Provider, and the Answer to every problem or concern.  Fear also distracts us from our purpose.  We cannot complete our Godly assignments if we are paralyzed by fear.

But now, thus says the LORD, who created you…and He who formed you…  “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called [you] by your name; You [are] Mine.  When you pass through the waters, I [will be] with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.” – Isaiah 43:1-2 NKJV

“And the LORD, He [is] the One who goes before you.  He will be with you.  He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” – Deuteronomy 31:8 NKJV

Behold, God [is] my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For YAH, the LORD, [is] my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’ – Isaiah 12:2 NKJV

And he said, “Listen, do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle [is] not yours, but God’s.” – 2 Chronicles 20:15 NKJV

God [is] our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.  Therefore, we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; [Though] its waters roar [and] be troubled, [Though] the mountains shake with its swelling.  Selah – Psalm 46:1-3 NKJV

“So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. – Mat 10:31 NASB

But when Jesus heard [it], He answered him, saying, “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.” – Luke 8:50 NKJV

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

So, we may boldly say: “The LORD [is] my helper; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?” – Hebrews 13:6 NKJV

I enCOURAGE you to CHOOSE FAITH.  TRUST GOD.  DO NOT FEAR!  DO NOT BE AFRAID!  I lived in the dungeon of deception for too many years of my life.  Fear kept me incarcerated.  Be free.  Walk in the extravagant, saving grace of Jesus.  As Christians, we trust God with our eternity,  with Him by our side, why do fear our today?


IMG_4040by Tammy Phillips
June 11, 2020

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.  Sufficient for the day [is] its own trouble. – Matthew 6:34 NKJV

We have a choice: Faith or Fear.  For every worry, we choose faith or fear.

This is not a suggestion.  This is a command.  Most of the things we worry about never happen and are not really of any significance.  Worry is fear.  Worry is torment.  Worry is harassment.  Worry is focus on trouble.  Worry is listening to the lies of the enemy instead of the promises of God.  God’s grace is enough!  It is enough for one day at a time, and then, the next, and then, the next.  When we choose to worry, we become overwhelmed.  We have taken a thought we were never meant to take.  When we trust God, we choose to live in the now.  We enjoy His peace that passes understanding.  Fear flees.  Live fearless.  Don’t worry!  Be happy!

Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?  Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? (Matthew 6:27 NKJV)

 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV)

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 NKJV)

I enCOURAGE you to CHOOSE FAITH.  TRUST GOD.  DO NOT WORRY.  BE HAPPY.  As Christians, we trust God with our eternity, how and why do we have trouble trusting Him with our today?



by Tammy Phillips
June 10, 2020

“I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You…- Isaiah 42:6 NKJV

Wake up.  Do not get out of bed.  Reach for God.  Do not let go. Grab hold of  His hand.   Remember, He is always with us.  He is beside us.  He lives in us.  Bask in His Presence before feet hit the floor.  Seek God and He will be found.  Talk with Him.  Delight in Him.  Grasp His promises.  It is impossible to rise in fear when we start our day in faith.  Fear and anxiety flee when we abide in the Him.  Hold his hand throughout the day.  He provides strength and support.

Arise, shine; For your light has come!  And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. (Isaiah 60:1 NKJV)

 “So that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; (Acts 17:27 NKJV)

 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find [Me], when you search for Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, says the LORD… (Jeremiah 29:12-14 NKJV)

Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4 NKJV)

He gives power to the weak, And to [those who have] no might He increases strength. (Isaiah 40:29 NKJV)

Behold, God [is] my helper; The Lord [is] with those who uphold my life. (Psalm 54:4 NKJV)

I enCOURAGE you to CHOOSE FAITH.  TRUST GOD.  Hold His hand.  Walk with Him, hand-in-hand, through this crazy, unpredictable life.  As Christians, we trust God with our eternity, how and why do we have trouble trusting Him with our every day?



by Tammy Phillips
June 9, 2020

We have a choice: Faith or Fear.  For every mega storm endured in life, we choose faith or fear.

Choose to grow through storms and hard times not just go through them.  Let go and let God.  Want to relax like Jesus did while in the eye of the hurricane?  Do not be fishing for anything but Jesus.  We should only be casting our cares on him.  When something is too heavy for us to carry in our daily lives, we do not hesitate to ask for help.  If the temptation is too big, do not pick it up. Follow His example.  Speak to the storm and say:  “Peace; be still.” or “Hush. Put a muzzle on it.”  He will take you through to the other side.  Just ask Him.

On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.”  Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was.  And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling.  But He was…asleep on a pillow.  And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”  Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.  But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is that you have no faith?” -Mark 4:35-41

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God [is] faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear [it]. – 1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV

 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; – Philippians 4:6 NKJV

 I enCOURAGE YOU to CHOOSE FAITH.  TRUST GOD.  DO NOT FEAR.  He is in the boat with us through the mega storms of life. We will go over because we are overcomes in Him.  As Christians, we trust God with our eternity, how and why do we have trouble trusting Him with our today?

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