Set – Apart 

WORTHY THOUGHT: God has given us each a purpose for living, and we can trust Him to guide us.

A special, wild- looking man that had no power or position in the Jesus political system but was talked about in all four of the gospels was John the Baptist.

God appointed John the Baptist to be set apart for God’s services. 

His coming was predicted in Isaiah 40:3 -announcing the coming of Jesus, The Savior! John the Baptist spoke and people were moved by his words because he spoke truth. 

As the crowds came, he pointed beyond himself and pointed them to Jesus. 

“Look! There is the Lamb of God who takes away the World’s sin! He is the one I was talking about when I said, “Soon a man far greater than I am is coming, who existed long before me!” (John 1:29-31) 

John the Baptist’s job clearly showed through his obedience to God. John pointed, prepared and announced the coming of the true Messiah whom they were looking for. 

Today people are looking for someone to give them security in an insecure world. 

Our job as believers like John the Baptist, is to point them to Jesus and show the people Jesus is the one they seek.   

Jesus said, “Truly, of all men ever born, none shines more brightly than John the Baptist.(Matthew 11:11)

We are all called to be Set-Apart from the World and point others to Jesus too!  

~ Angela Lipe-Pattengill 

Break The Silence Of Abortion


Many people are suffering from the effects of abortion. The children are not the only victims.  

Abortion is mostly a fear born and based decision.  

It is forced on many by either fear of the unknown or fear of losing their partners over the unplanned or unwanted pregnancy or fear of losing the love and acceptance from their disappointed parents and family which could be forcing the decision.

No one ever makes this decision lightly. No matter what celebrities like Chelsea Handler or Ilyse Hogue, will try to tell you- the effects of abortion are far reaching and lasting for many and not something to be proud of.  

But not something we should feel condemned of anymore either. 

Statistics show that 60% of female inmates in prison have had an abortion. Many will tell you they are in an endless cycle of addiction and crime because of this decision. 
Statistics show it has lasting affects just like those of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Statistics show that those that have chosen abortion suffer with suicidal thoughts, depression, isolation, obsessive compulsive behaviors, addictions, divorce,relationship struggles, and subsequent issues bonding with their future children. 

We are only as sick as our secrets!

I believe God has called me to be a voice for the unborn by helping to restore men and women that have made the decision to abort their unborn child. If we can get these people to rid themselves of the guilt and shame and know that God truly forgives and loves them still; they will become one of the greatest pro-life movements and voices for future unborn children the world has ever seen.  

I have counseled numerous women of all ages that have shared their stories with me.   

I know many that are still too terrified to share their stories because of their churches and pastors that are so vocal about their disgust and opinions on abortion. I encourage pastors and leaders to please stop alienating your wounded women and men and instead realize – the children are not the only victims. Send those in your congregations that are suffering to Restored Ministries.  We would love to help them. 

I have done studies with post abortion women and more than half of the groups were Pastors, Bishops, or Elders in the churches daughters. Abortion is just as much a problem for the churched as it is the unchurched. 

Because of the harsh judgements and opinions regarding abortion it is also what keeps many out of the church, and also keeps many overly serving in church trying to earn their way to Heaven. Both reasons still keep them suffering in silence and fear of releasing this secret. 

I suffered in silence for far too many years. I know what the effects of Abortion can do to a person. 
We need to stop telling people to #ShoutYourAbortion and instead ask them to boldly #ShoutOurJesus

I know the Amazing Transforming and Restorative Power of Jesus Christ and what He has done in my life. I know what it is like to carry that heavy coat of shame and guilt around and be pissed off at the world for continuing to be so vocal against a decision I chose – and take that disgust from others personally. I know what it is like to be rejected unfairly by people, Christians too, for sharing my secret. 

I also know what it is like to be free from the guilt, shame and condemnation now. I know what it is like to pray for those that tend to shout hate and have to make a daily decision to cover them in love by taking the offense and hurt I feel directly to Jesus. 

(Not to say some days I don’t have my Mr. Bean moments and want to flip the whole World off.) 

It’s a process of releasing to be restored. It takes time and I can help you. 

Abortion is not the unforgivable sin as you would be led to believe. God does not have a grading scale on sins.   

God forgave Moses and David for murder. God can and does forgive you too! 

If you are tired of suffering in silence and need someone to talk to- contact me. I would love to listen, pray with you and help you to finally #LiveRestored – Mind Body & Soul.  

Let’s #ShoutOurJesus together and finally break the silence and suffering of Abortion. 
              ~XXOO Michelle Bollom 

One Big Mistake 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

Recently, I encountered one of the hardest experiences of one of my children. I think one of my toughest jobs [so far] maybe [forever and always] will be that of a parent.

My child, whom I love more than anything, made an error in judgement, a mistake.

It was a BIG MISTAKE.

Many emotions swirled around in my heart.  

I was angry. I was scared. I was confused. I was sad.

But mostly…. my heart was breaking for my child.

The pain, the guilt, the shame, I know what those have felt like. And the enemy was not far off from the lies he used to implant in my thoughts of myself. I knew what it was like to make a mistake that can’t be reversed or taken back.

I know the heartache and damage that comes by ONE BIG MISTAKE. And maybe, in some way, I was reliving my own past sins.

Maybe….. That is why my heart was deeply saddened for my child to have to live them out too.

I wanted to take it all upon myself. I didn’t want my child to suffer. I sure didn’t want them to experience the consequences that may be for a lifetime, possibly.

I couldn’t help but think about what it must have been like for God to love so deeply, to hurt so much, for his child/children. How much did his heart break over my errors in judgement? I thought about the greatness and depth his heart loves – despite my BIG MISTAKES.

Despite my child’s BIG MISTAKES.

God LOVES SO MUCH. He loved so much that he DID take it ALL on.

He gave because his love was for ALL.

And as much as I didn’t need to be condemned by harsh words of others, neither did my child by the critical words of his mother. My child needed me to demonstrate the same kind of love that I experienced from Jesus.

Jesus, let me be reminded of the magnitude you offer by the love and forgiveness you demonstrated on the cross. You are almighty and NO ONE is like you. Please forgive our sins, and Father direct each one of your children onto the path that was paved by your example. Walk and talk with us, comfort us, while confirming who we are in you. In every lesson, allow us to understand and know you deeper [still].

In Jesus Name, amen. 

Baring His Beauty,

Tiffany Thomas 

A Stumbling Man 

I rather be a stumbling man who is desperately in need of God’s grace and tender mercies every moment of everyday. 

A man who is beyond clingy to The Gospel of Christ and the person of Christ. 

A man who can not take a step without first kneeling and crying out from the depths of myself to Him for guidance and strength knowing apart from Him I can do nothing and I am nothing.

 
I rather be a poor man in your eyes than to be a successful Christian man to the worlds standards. Rather than a man who is deceived by his good works and his self righteousness. 

I rather be a man who spends countless hours in the word a still lacks wisdom and understanding. Rather than a man whose only knowledge and wisdom come from a watered down gospel from a church that is only interested in numbers and not teaching the love of the Father and the conformity to His beloved son Christ Jesus. 

I rather be a broke man that is abundant in hope and rich in love. A man who clothes his family in unwavering love and feeds them the true bread of The Gospel rather a man who clothes his family in expensive trends and false comforts of this world. 

I rather be a desperate man, a clingy man, and broke man that loves as He has loved and strives to conform to the very image of Christ Jesus our Lord and savior.

I rather be a Son that is madly in love with His Father and knows Him intimately rather than be a man that works his way to heaven and hears Jesus’ voice say “depart from me, I never knew you.”

                   ~ Thomas Joel Trevino 

Suitable Standards 


How did we do? Did we do enough? How was our performance? How is our appearance? 

Common thoughts but deadly, for what happens when our performance is less than outstanding?

What about when we can’t do much, or what about when our appearance is lacking? There must be a better way; there has to be a better way. If there isn’t, we are doomed to unstable, unfruitful lives.

We are o.k. because our Celestial Daddy says we’re o.k. It has to be that simple. We must let him be the judge of our worth; we are wholly unsuited for the task. What traits or qualities or performance standards are suitable in an eternal world with a Holy God? Absolute holiness is the standard, and there is no way for us to reach that standard by outstanding performance or pleasing appearance. We need Our Heavenly Father to say to us, “Well done”, and only he knows what he is looking for in his children.

Love, not fear. Faith, not doubt. Hope, not despair. He will never be impressed with outstanding performances or stunning appearance. Only he is worthy of praise; only his works are awesome; only he is beautiful. And we are praised, awesome, and beautiful when we reflect him in our lives. We reflect him best when we walk in faith, hope, and love. Even our holiness is dependent on our having a heart of love. We can abstain from immorality and still miss the point. We are created to be vessels where God can reside, and he resides best in us when we are walking in love.

So, not our performance or appearance, but what God has done and the beauty of his holiness. Let’s set our hearts on letting him shine through us, and take our eyes off of our individual performance or appearance. Let us glorify him by bearing much fruit for him – “love, joy, and peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self control.”

“He who offers thank offerings prepares the way that God may show him his salvation.” 

 “Let us offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord.” “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
             ~ Brad Heilhecker 

The Box Of Book 

Sometimes we put God in our little man made boxes. We forget that God created man. Man created boxes. 

These packages can be pretty little gift boxes all wrapped neat and tidy with a big red bow. We wouldn’t dare mess it up and rethink it with any other ideas about God. After all, we learned some of these beautiful ideas about God in church. Other times our box exists as a sloppy unkept package with rips and tears formed from our personal hurts and disappointments. It is too painful to unwrap so we push God and the box aside. 

There is no need for a package of pain to remind us of our failures in life. We put God front and center in the box of blame. The process of unknowingly characterizing God by our own limited understanding and reasoning has begun. 

God can be viewed as a distant God who wasn’t there to help us. He abandoned us when horrible things in life came knocking at our door. Sometimes we even go as far as to learn about God solely by what others teach us. We go to church and listen to others never once looking for ourselves what is the truth about God. There is no desire to seek out God for ourselves. The thought never occurs to us to look in the Bible. We don’t personally know who He really is and what His story can mean for our own lives. At times that isn’t even an option because we may have convinced ourselves that the Bible isn’t even true. 

Too many disappointments with people who claim the Bible is true causes us to to avoid the out dated book. Reasoning tells you it doesn’t seem possible that any book could survive any real divine inspiration. After all it was written by lots of imperfect people thousands of years ago. It becomes the experiences in our life that determine what we believe about God and the Book He wrote though the hands of many. 

That becomes our box we put God in and we shut out any other views of who or what He is to man. It is packaged up and signed by our life experiences and delivered. We deliver to it other people as our truth. It has become our experience so therefore it must be truth. Or it is left alone high on a shelf of disbelief and disappointments. 

I could try and convince you otherwise, but then wouldn’t that be me delivering you my package of truth? So then I wonder how do people discover what is true about God? How do they rely on a Book that comes along with Him as an instruction guide? There are so many religions and beliefs about God. I have met many amazing people who fall into lots of categories of various thoughts and beliefs. 

Here’s my thinking. I want to keep it simple. 

Boxes represent our life’s experiences or what others have told us about God. 
The Book or Bible represents what truth we know about God. 

The essential key: 

It takes faith to believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. 

What if we take a step of faith to unlock the truth. 

1) Read the Book 

2) Believe the Book 

3) Talk to the Author by 

4) Asking 

5) Seeking

6) Knocking

Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

A Truth Challenge 

    OPEN up your box of beliefs and turn it into a box of believing that God is who He says He is and does what He says He will do. Allow for the possibility that He is a good good Father who created you and has amazing plans designed just for you. Seek Him out solely with the intent to find the truth by reading His instruction manual for instructions. Ask Him. Seek Him. The truth you discover from Him and His Word will set you free from your limited box of beliefs. 

Pack one item only in your box of beliefs. 

                       The Bible 

Use your key of Faith to open it up and discover a boxless God. 

Look in the book,

Kelley Allison

http://www.bowlofsplendor.com

Your Calling 

So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him.” (1 Kings 19:19)

Are you in search of your calling? Possibly even wondering if you’ve missed your calling?

When I meet with a group of young people, I’ll often tell them, “Ask me anything,” and the concept of calling always comes up. “How do I know my calling? How do I step into my calling?”

And I always tell them, “Your attitude and approach toward what you’re doing now is more important than your speculation about what’s next.”

Elisha wasn’t necessarily looking for his “calling.” He was simply completing a simple assignment in his current season of life. And God knew how to find him. He knew Elisha was in a field plowing.

Now maybe you’re thinking, “How could plowing have prepared him for prophecy?” Elisha may have been tilling hard dirt, but he would soon be tilling hard hearts.

There’s always a connection between what you’re doing now and what you’ll be doing next. Faith enables you to believe this even when you can’t see it.

Where did Elijah find Elisha? He found him in the field. The mundane preceded the miraculous.

Have you been tempted to fantasize about what might be next and neglect what God is doing now? If so, you may be short-circuiting the process that God is using to prepare you for the promise.

What you need for the next season is what God is doing now. 

              ~ Thomas Joel Trevino 

Our Aim 

Christ said that you can’t even enter the kingdom unless you become more righteous than the most holy men of his time. He went on to say that to be great in the kingdom we must observe and teach others to observe the Old Testament law. If we accept this as the true word of God, which it is, how is it even possible to fulfill this law?

I think a lot of people understand that faith in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross makes us righteous in God’s eyes, but how do we go on from there to observe and teach others to observe the law? It may be helpful to limit ourselves to the 10 commandments and the 2 greatest commandments that Christ referred to in his teachings. We can probably agree that the 10 commandments are a short list of standards which are holy and good, and which, if we transgress in any of them, we sin and fall short of the glory of God.  

For argument’s sake, let us agree that if we break the 2 greatest commandments we also sin and fall short of the glory of God. For review, these 2 commandments are to love the Lord God with all your heart, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.

We find ourselves in the exact position of God’s people in the Old Testament. How do we keep these commandments? My proposal is that if we surrender to Christ’s lordship, if we abide in him by keeping the faith and doing our best to walk in love, we will fulfill all 12 commands. Surrendering our lives to Christ on a daily basis for him to live in and through us fulfills the first of the 2 great commandments and the first 4 of the 10 commandments, and learning and following Christ’s instructions on how to treat others fulfills the 2nd great commandment and the last six of the 10 commandments. The whole New Testament is basically an instruction manual on how to fulfill all 12 of these prominent commands. It is not easy and is impossible with a lackadaisical attitude. It requires a fervent and whole hearted devotion to Christ and his Gospel.

To summarize: if we aim at keeping the law, we will miss Christ and also not be able to keep the law, even though we are trying very hard to keep it. If we aim at devotion to Christ, we will gain Christ and end up keeping the law, even though we are not focusing on keeping it. Our focus remains on Jesus, on pleasing him by obeying him and letting him live through us.

                   ~Brad Heilhecker

Unanswered Questions-Part 2

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord , the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense ; he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2 NIV

One beautiful weekend in July, I was on vacation trying my best to enjoy the present moment. But my spirit was not celebrating. It was troubled.
I didn’t understand what was going on, but deep within that sacred place that we both shared….I knew it had to do with you. 
Something shifted.

A couple days later as I watched the ultrasound technician measure your little head, your arms, and your legs. For a moment, I was relieved. You were a miracle in the making. 

And then the question came:
“Have you experienced any cramping?”
“No. Nothing at all, I replied.”
His look told me what my Spirit had revealed a few days before. Your baby’s heart stopped beating a few days ago based off of its measurements.

Our song had stopped playing.
I didn’t want to accept it. And I couldn’t tell this man that I already knew you were gone. I wanted it to be a mistake. I wanted to experience you alive and well safe in my arms.

I wanted to hear our melody playing at your birth.

God had other plans. I have learned that I just don’t have the opportunity to understand everything that happens here on this earth. I don’t think he designed me capable of understanding it all. 

But I do have the choice to trust his will for my life even when it hurts. I continue to have faith even when it’s hard to see what’s ahead. Someday, when I meet Jesus face to face, I will understand many things differently.

Be blessed in him today. Find comfort in his promises.

~Baring His Beauty,

   Tiffany Thomas