Two Important Questions 


Continually ask yourself the following two questions when dealing with others. 

1. Has this person been placed in my life as a GIFT to help me GROW? 

2. Has this person been placed in my life to DERAIL me from my DESTINY?

Evaluate whether your relationships are growing you or simply derailing you. 

Are they faucets pouring into your life or a drain sucking everything out? 

Make sure you are not staying just to be tolerated-good healthy and growing relationships celebrate each other. 

               ~XXOO Michelle Bollom 

How To Be Perfect 


per·fect

adjective

ˈpərfikt/

1. having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.

per·fec·tion·ism

pərˈfekSHəˌnizəm/

noun

noun: perfectionism

1. refusal to accept any standard short of perfection.

“Perfectionism, in psychology, is a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.” – Wikipedia 


“For perfectionists, life is an endless report card on accomplishments or looks. It’s a fast track to unhappiness, and perfectionism is often accompanied by depression and eating disorders.” -Psychology Today 

Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect. ~Matthew 5:48 NIV

I have to say when I read this verse I was a little discouraged and said- “What????? Oh, Lord I have a long way to go to even being close to perfect.”

But then I started to further unpack and understand what exactly God means by “Perfect“, And that God calls us to be perfect but He does not ever call us to perfectionism. 

There is a difference as we see above in the definitions. 

As the definition of Perfect states: 

having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be. 

With Christ in us- We have all the required and desirable elements and qualities- so we just make sure to stay surrendered and yielded to the Holy Spirit and we will be perfect just as our Heavenly Father is perfect! 

Great! but what exactly does that look like? How can we walk this thing out? 

But then I saw a few other things ….
Here is that verse in the Amplified Translation to help better understand….

You, therefore, will be perfect {growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life,}as your heavenly Father is perfect. ~ Matthew 5:48 AMP

“growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life” 

 Ok – growing– got it! It’s a process to be perfect, so it takes me integrating and yielding and growing daily.  

And to really get a grasp of this verse on how to be perfect…. here is the Message Translation…..

 “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5:48 MSG 

So see… It’s not so hard or scary after all when we know that how to be perfect is simply staying synced up with God, growing in maturity and living out our God-created identity by living generously and graciously towards others the way God is towards us.  

Pretty, pretty please, don’t you ever, ever feel

Like you’re less than; less than perfect

Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel

Like you’re nothing, you’re perfect to Me! 

         That is what God sings to us! 

Just like the famous Pink song-clean version of course….

And that my friends is how to be perfect! 

               ~XXOO Michelle Bollom 

The Everyday Battle 


While on my fast I have been passing time while I cook or clean by listening and catching up on some of my favorite sermon series. 

 I have been a fan of Pastor Robert Morris of Gateway Church in the Dallas Texas area for years. I really like his practical application on how he unpacks the verses and it just really helps me to get the message of what he is preaching on. I also think he is very funny. 

 Somehow today I had a few moments and was going to check out a sermon and this oldie popped up. It actually is just about 6 months old, and this was such a great message of what he calls “The Everyday Battle.”  

He has great practical points that he lists that are myths as well as points on what to do to overcome this battle.  

I used to struggle in this area but have been making this a habit now for almost 10 years. I no longer dread it out of obligation, I actually get excited to see what I will learn each day.  

I am especially looking forward to paying attention to the song I wake up with each day! 

Enjoy! – Share your tips with us on how you overcome this battle. ~ XXOO Michelle Bollom 

Hold On Loosely 

  
Have you ever felt like you have been in a very dark valley? Boy, I have! I recently experienced an extended season of trials that started in the end of 2014. In this dark valley it has felt like shifting sand falling through my fingers. 

 You see, I was being forced to hold on loosely to everything and everyone so I could learn to hold on firmly to Christ.  

 
I felt like God was doing a major sifting and many things were shifted around, but ultimately I have been lifted. I was lifted to a higher playing field with God.

 

Oh, it was not fun getting to this current place. No, it has not really been fun at all, and sometimes I am still being sifted and shifted, but I trust firmly and completely in the One that is guiding me.

 

 

You have heard me say, “Not everyone can go where God is calling you.” That is so very true.
God really showed me some things this last year and a half through many of my dark valley moments.

 

God was showing me that not everyone stays on your team, remains in your corner, and has your back or your best interest at heart. People disappoint us; God never does. Hold on loosely, to everyone and everything ….But God!

 

God will sift alright!

The first sifting came when someone that I thought was in my “top 5”actually was not in my corner at all. They were there simply by default through a mutual friend we both shared. They had a perceived notion that something happened that didn’t and in their words of anger God revealed that this was not what was best for me. I was a little bewildered by it all at first, but I also knew that when I pray “God reveal to me who my true friends are” God is always faithful to answer my prayer.

 
The second sifting came when I felt the Lord wanting me to use my words. I am a stuffer of my emotions and feelings. Over the years I have been learning to express my feelings and not stuff my face. I also didn’t want any weirdness with holding onto the hurt feelings I felt. I resisted at first but then I chose to be obedient to the Lord, knowing full well this would go over like “a turd in the punchbowl.” And Boy did it ever! They lashed back more fierce and vile than I could have possibly even imagined but God said, “Trust Me, they are hurting so they just want to hurt others. Perception is Full of Deception. Take what you need to own and let Me sift the rest.”
I learned that Rejection is God’s ultimate protection. I have been completely guarded and protected through it all. God will restore this relationship in His perfect timing and I trust Him completely.

 
The third sifting came and it had me Offended…. at first. 

 I hate offense too! When I feel it I take it immediately to God. I remind myself that Jesus was not offended that Judas would betray Him. He washed his feet and even kissed Judas, knowing full well Judas was about to sell Jesus out. This sifting was more about sifting my emotions and reactions. Those closest to me were constantly unavailable when I felt I really needed them. I was frustrated at what I perceived was one lame excuse after another. I knew they were rearranging things that they viewed important but felt offended that they were not willing to arrange things for me. Again, perception-is always full of deception. I realized in this sifting that the Harvest is plenty, but the workers are few

 But I also knew and trusted that God would continue to provide those Aaron’s and Hur’s for me to hold up my hands when I needed it most. So I have learned to “Hold on loosely to everyone and everything….But God!” I also let others do the same and don’t feel offended when they can’t make room for me.

 

The forth sifting came and it had me feeling excluded, or “kicked to the curb”. A group I was a part of for several years, I felt God asking me to step away to focus on some other things and in my stepping away I felt that I was being excluded or forgotten more and more. I had been removed from all communications and did not even get invited to a birthday celebration of what I thought was a very close friend and had to find out by another friend. God had other plans for me that day, and I still trust Him that no matter how hard I try or my emotions miss or want to rejoin the group, God keeps shutting the door to those invitations even with non-invitations. 

I am learning to hold on loosely to everyone and everything….But God! 

Many will jump on the bandwagon, very few are willing to stay on it. Many want to ride the waves, but few are willing to paddle out to catch the waves with you. It is all about the sifting, the shifting, and the lifting. “Not Everyone Can Go Where God is Calling You.”

 

You won’t reach that “lifted up” space or higher playing field if you remain afraid to let go or speak up when God asks you to sift and shift some things.  He can force the sifting and shifting too! – remember …Hold on loosely….

Death of any kind, whether actual death or the death of a relationship, or the shifting of friends, can be terrible, but not to the sheep (or peeps) of Christ. It is God’s way of separating the wheat from the chaff. Celebrate rejection as God’s ultimate protection. 

 

Valleys are often fruitful! I would not have learned to “Hold on loosely” to everyone and everything but Christ. I would not have continued to seek God and His will or even choose the uncomfortable obedience over the opinions of others, or perceived opinions of others, or even over my fleshly emotions.

 
The Lord can make any situation pleasant if we stay plugged in to Him. We just take our hurt, our warped perceptions, our hurt emotions, and offended spirits to God. Release it all to God to be restored!

 

 

I have found that even in the darkest, lonely and most trying hours -God is near. 

 
I also know God sends Angels right when we need them. He has sent many to me. I have grown much closer with people that I have never actually met in person. Some of those connections online have reached out and given me encouragement, advice, prayers and some amazing prophetic words when I needed them most. I have also had reconnections with others and some pretty amazing opportunities through Divinely Placed people that have become some of the most amazing Divine Connections now too. I know God can even use Google to have Angels and even your Aaron’s and Hur’s to find you too. 

 

 

Hold on loosely to everyone and everything… But God! 

                  ~ XXOO Michelle Bollom

Even in the unending shadows of death’s darkness,

    I am not overcome by fear.

Because You are with me in those dark moments,

    near with Your protection and guidance,

    I am comforted. ~Psalm 23:4 The VOICE

Even when walking through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way. ~ Psalm 23:4 TLB

Plays Well With Others 

  
No matter what life throws at you, when you let God be in control, there isn’t a single person on this planet that can take His favor from you. 

There is no need to panic, stress out, or be hurt and angry. That’s wasted energy. It takes away from your focus and distracts from the acute, hearing ear needed to stay in tune with God’s will for your life. 

Everyone is walking their own walk. Remember, whatever is done to you, even if indirectly and you’re simply caught in the crossfire, God isn’t saying He is upset or dissatisfied with you. It’s a season of growth, and many times, it’s not specifically YOUR growth. 

Take heart in knowing there is honor in this place, where sometimes it is necessary to take one for your fellow man in order for them to come up higher. 

We are all in this together. While you are not accountable for your neighbors spiritual report card, you are accountable for your own. 

I know I want mine to say, “Plays well with others,” ….. A+!

Go with God sweet friends, and rest in the salvation of our Lord, Jesus Christ!

                ~Sandra K. Yates 

A New Season To Flourish

  

I love trees. I love to see them so tall with their broad, ever changing and majestic crowns. They sway with the breeze in gentle praise.  In the storm, they bow down low in humble worship. 

 

My favorite time to watch the trees is when they are in full array in late spring and of course, summertime. 

 

To watch the trees, I go to “Africa”. 

My front yard is lined with big, flat rocks. Some might call them boulders, but in comparison to the geological wonders here, they are merely big rocks. These rocks are a nice decoration to our yard but also provide a place to sit, something for Cowboy, my son, to climb on, and cool relief to a dog’s belly in the summertime. Mostly, they are a warning of the 30 foot drop on the other side, which if not heeded would surely be a painful tumble down to the Creek Road.  

But I digress …… One of these rocks is marvelously shaped almost identically, like the continent of Africa.  Here is where I sit to contemplate the cosmos, and to commune with my God.

 

It’s been far too long since I’ve visited Africa. Nature has prevented our coming together for nearly six months. Today I was drawn to her; my sprit man yearned for a meeting. I sat down in the warm sunshine. A gentle breeze blew across my face and through my hair. Yes, it was good to be back.  With my face to the sky, I soaked in the sunshine, which had been so very absent from my life as of late. I began to feel lazy and lay down on my side, looking out over the valley. 

 

I could see the tops of many trees, yet had as many more to tower above me as if to keep me humble. Today my trees did not look very majestic. They swayed with the stubble of leaves just beginning, like an awkward adolescent between childhood and man, gangly and sprawling. Still, they moved in quiet praise. I wondered, “Do they ever yearn for spring like I do?” A silly notion of course, impatience in a perfectly designed, life sustaining part of creation, ha! But it led me to consider …..

 

It must have taken much to withstand the winter we had this year. For six months they’ve weathered high winds, snow, sleet, and spent many weeks entombed in ice. As they stood dormant and resting, strong against the onslaught and cruel grip of winter, many lost limbs, big limbs, that had not been strong enough to withstand the trial. Loss which was undoubtedly needed, as the dead wood drained precious life from the healthy tree. Several trees didn’t make it at all.  Yet here they are, continuing life again.

 

Being in a spiritual place right now where everything appears to be the same yet nothing is familiar, I thought about my trees. How beautifully perfect my God is.  I have weathered many storms, feeling dormant and useless at times. Yet the trials have broken off my deadwood, pruning me, getting me ready and allowing me “rest” as God prepared me for growth.  In this new place God is bringing me, I feel like that gangly adolescent, attempting to grow, struggling to understand, and desperately trying to bloom. 

 

I lay on my rock for a long time, telling God how marvelous He Is. Adoring His love and all knowing wisdom for what we need, when we need it. I told Him how marvelous He is to have created such amazing things. In reply He whispered ever so gently, “Yes, but my daughter is the greatest of My creations. You too will flourish again and be green and lush, just as your trees will.”

 

Though at times I’ve foolishly doubted spring would EVER get here this year, logically and in my heart, I knew it would. So I stand, as my trees stand. I’ve withstood the winter, I’ve shucked my deadwood, I’m ready for my spurt of growth, I’m ready to flourish! I don’t have to understand it all. I don’t have to be graceful and never trip, for His grace upholds me.  All I have to do is stand …. stand with all of creation and give my Father praise ….. 

 Just like the trees.

                    ~ Sandra K. Yates 


The Quivering Seed 

 

 

Yearning to believe 
Yet a little frightened
The mustard seed of faith…
Quivers in the silence
Darkness dawning the new day
Hope & Trust paving the way
Lastly Love nurturing
Mother Earths moist guidance
Propelling the seed upward
The life inside
Exploding
Joyously breaking
Through soil
Pained by tribulation
Patience birthed
By the hell we loathe
Called waiting
It’s easier to believe
For you
Because I feel no pain
Faith for me is tiring
Because I’m exhausted
Flickering flames
Quivering faith
Seeds …..
We just walk away
Will our tears
Water the prayer
Gone forth?
God is not moved
By emotion
But trust
If I can muster 
A tiny seed
I know my heart
Can still believe.

❤️ Krystal Lynne 


Flip The Switch

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My family likes to use a lot of silly made up words. Some are original creations, some are one word wonders, others are compound words, and some are little phrases or even songs. I am not sure why we do this, but we always have. Many, well, come to think of it, most, really aren’t appropriate. However, they are quite funny. The latest gem my sister has been using is “FlipSh*t”. This is to describe when she needs me to pray that she keeps her peace. When she is starting to feel the chaos swirling around her and she is close to unraveling, blowing her cool, and losing her peace, she will say, “Please pray I don’t FlipSh*t. “
She just re-entered the work place after being retired for several years. This silly word had me thinking about my own journey with Peace.
I can remember those corporate world days when I was not walking closely with the Lord, and I constantly had no peace. The fastest way for me to Flip was while working, but juggling a full time job, being a wife, and also a mom to twins, who am I kidding, I was a regular Flipper, I FlipSh*t daily back then. I so longed for and craved peace.
I remember seeing this verse my children had to memorize for Sunday school several years ago.


Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.] ~ John 14:27 AMP

I love the direct command at the end of that verse in the [brackets] for the AMP (Amplified) version. It has some great stuff in those [Brackets]. God knew that I was doing all those things in the brackets. For far too many years I did them. I was finally all “Flipped Out “, I just wanted Peace! Not momentary peace, nope, none of this world’s peace stuff, I wanted true lasting peace.
Slowly, as I began to read and study His word, Asked Jesus back into my life, and became filled with the Holy Spirit, I started to understand this “Peace stuff”.

You see, I never realized before that we can’t lose our peace. It is a fruit of the Spirit. We have it; it just doesn’t maybe get developed as it should, kind of like self-control. We need God to be our “Miracle Grow” to get those puny little fruits to grow bigger and better.


But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,23 Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [[f]that can bring a charge].24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires.25 If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit [g]we have our life in God, let us go forward [h]walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.] ~ Galatians 5:22-25

See the [bracket] again,… the work which His presence within accomplishes. If Christ is in us, We got peace! And ….. If by the Holy Spirit, we have our life in God, we move forward, walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit. So we have to let ourselves be controlled by the Spirit and not the flesh. The fleshly worldly peace is fleeting, The True Peace never leaves.

How does this Peace help us and what are we to do with it?

And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always]. ~ Colossians 3:15 AMP

We let Peace rule. Yep, I am not the boss of me either. We let Peace aka, The “Soul Harmony” from Christ, Rule! Oh, I want some of that!, …(act as an umpire continually in our hearts)….we don’t call the shots, we have an Umpire for that… and did you catch the [brackets]? …Deciding and settling with finality ALL questions that arise in your minds. The Umpire decides and settles with finality ALL, again it says, with finality ALL questions that arise in our minds are settled. In that peaceful state, we were called to live, being thankful, appreciative, and giving praise to God always.

How do we keep Peace?

You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. ~ Isaiah 26:3 AMP

We will remain in perfect and constant peace when we keep our mind, both its inclination and character, on Jesus! We continuously Commit, Lean, and Hope in Jesus.

Where does Peace come from?

The Lord will give [unyielding and impenetrable] strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace. ~ Psalm 29:11 AMP

The Lord will BLESS His people with Peace! Only the Lord gives Peace. He also gives us unyielding and impenetrable strength, and self-control too so we don’t Flip.

Without Peace there is no Power in our lives. When we are filled with The Prince of Peace, we have Him inside us helping us grow and develop that good Perfect Peace.

We have to Flip the switch!

The power switch for peace and an abundant life is found only in Christ! ~XXOO Michelle Bollom