What a great promise for the upcoming New Year!
Remember to check out Bowl Of Splendor every Friday on Restored Ministries Blog.
but also with the one who is contrite
and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit
of the lowly and to revive the heart
of the contrite.”
Isaiah 57:15 NIV
Dearest Father in heaven,
A fallen world continues to produce sin, hurt and pain. May it not be the significance of what is most important. Do not allow the ground to be saturated in the darkness of sin, even though the heart of man has escaped far from you.
Come near, O Lord, create new growth through the nurturing of your voice. Let the sound continue to fertilize established roots. Shine down in radiant splendor on the life that lives deep within the soil of your land. Firmly plant your Spirit as the replacement to the root-bound heart.
Water and refresh each season of new life. Produce an unforeseen harvest that reflects the nature of who you are in abundant mercy, grace, and newness. Oh Lord, revive the heart that lacks the ability to receive, especially when you desire to give so much. Bring unity to your garden. By your presence be made known.
In Jesus name, amen.
~Baring His Beauty,
Last year many of you followed my “I DARE YOU!” series. Thank you so much for reading, commenting, and going on that journey with me. The “I DARE YOU” season for me was GOD’s way of asking me to place him at the center of my life. The beautiful thing about the series was that I was given a platform to pour into all of you as well.
My life was transformed; and I was able to break free from the many chains that were keeping me in bondage. I boldly say…I am truly blessed!
Has GOD ever had to allow things in your life to happen so that you can focus all of your attention on him? Have you experienced pain so deeply that you wanted to die; but GOD offered you a little glimpse of hope and life, leading to your decision to choose life? Has your life been totally disrupted, and you are currently struggling trying to find the pieces to help put your life back together again?
I have been there too. It was two years and four months ago on August 26, 2013. That was the day GOD totally disrupted my life! That’s the day that GOD said enough and I was blessed to birth a beautiful baby girl named, Lereine Mari-lyne Coxeff.
You see giving birth to my daughter was more than becoming a new mom. GOD later revealed to me that my journey to becoming a mother would also be my journey to doing his work. Little did I know, my disruptive phase would become my instructive phase. I needed to be pruned from my old ways, old habits, old thoughts, old people, etc. This was all orchestrated to replace all old things with something new.
I became a NEW me! I am now the same person, with a different platform. During my first year as a new mother, I was stretched in so many ways and I was forced to move completely out of my comfort zone.
God was clear that this would be a season of:
· Re-alignment (I needed to realign myself with the word)
· Re-evaluation (I needed to reevaluate myself and my life)
· Re-commitment (I needed to recommit myself to GOD’s promise for my life)
· Re-assessment (I needed to reassess my relationships)
My journey into motherhood helped me develop this series called “GOOD Night MOM.” Good night mom is a weekly series that will offer support, encourage growth, and create a platform for others to share their experiences after giving birth to something. I will use my experiences as a new mother to offer a message to my readers and followers. Each week will include a tip, a story, a scripture, and a discovery question.
I look forward to taking this journey with you. My only hope is that you will learn how to rest in the lord.
Good Night Mom,
#liverestored #anewyou #itstimeforachange #maventalk #gnm #RestoredMinistries
Progress can be defined as to advance or develop toward a better, more complete, or more modern state.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-16 “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
A year ago, Michelle invited me to be a guest blogger for Restored Ministries. While extremely thankful, honesty I felt like I wasn’t in the best place to be able to pour into other people. My relationship with GOD at the time seemed to be somewhat shaky, I felt like my life was a little shattered, and I had a heart full of sorrow.
Little did I know, this opportunity would lead to growth and progress in all areas of my life! I created goals in five key areas of my life. My life drastically improved. Let me share how this journey has impacted my…
FAITH: A year ago, my relationship with GOD and my faith relied heavily on what I thought was the right thing to do. At the time, I read the bible and fellowshipped because it looked good. I desired a true relationship with GOD; however I felt stuck. My goal for the year was to increase my faith and to let GOD’s light be so evident in me that others will see how amazing he is. Let me tell you, my faith has grown because the spirit moved me to study more, worship more, and love more.
FAMILY: A year ago, my relationship with family members were volatile. It’s as if I felt like our love for one another had diminished. Additionally, because I lost my mother when I was young, I felt empty and motherless. I felt like Lereine was grandmother less. I prayed for the healing of my relationship with my family and I asked GOD to bring someone in my life that would love Lereine and I unconditionally like a daughter and granddaughter. Now, my family relationships are better and Lereine has not just one grandmother; but three grandmothers- she calls them “granny, nanna, and me-ma!” God is so good!
FINANCES: A year ago, I was playing catch up with my finances. Last year I was so behind on bills and I had loaned so much to other people, that I could not afford a Christmas for my daughter. I made a pledge to GOD- I said to him GOD, if I am a good steward of my finances; then will you please make it possible for my daughter to have a Christmas next year. This year, not only have I received a raise, my business is exploding, I have received new paying contracts—and yes, Lereine has a Christmas tree with gifts. I am so grateful!
FITNESS: Last year, I was physically tired, mentally tired. I was in a mental state of depression that affected my health. I didn’t have zest for life, and I was tired. I asked GOD to give me strength and to help me with my wellness goals. I now have energy and I am back to my old self again. Eating well, moving, and praising! I am thanking GOD for my progress as he is perfecting my health!
FRIENDS: After bouncing back from experiencing my greatest character building phase in life- I felt friendless. I felt like my relationships with others had faded or were put to rest. I felt like I had been carrying relationships that GOD no longer wanted me to carry. These relationships were heavy and burdensome. I asked GOD to show me who he wanted me to be around, I asked him for healthy relationships and good mentors. GOD made it apparent to me that not everybody is supposed go with me on my life’s journey. He made it clear that some relationships are about reasons, seasons, and lifetimes. I let go of a few relationships and let GOD direct me with the other relationships! Here I am growing strong with those that are supposed to go!
My life has progressed because I made a decision to grow closer to Christ. This opportunity has moved me from feeling shaky to being sturdy, feeling shattered to being satisfied, feeling sorrow to experiencing spunk. For those of you that have been on this journey with me for the past year, I thank you for allowing me to be tenacious, transparent, and transformed. Hopefully in addition to saving my own soul, I have been able to bless a few other people along the way!
In the New Year, I encourage you to be diligent in growing closer to Christ. Let him do the work, so that others may witness your progress! I DARE YOU!
Thank you for giving me your word. Thank you for allowing your word to be so deeply rooted, that when others see me, they see you! Thank for blessing me so that I can bless others!
Commit to the challenge. I DARE you.
#lerecamonik #Idareyou #restoredministries #itstimeforachange #anewyou #LiveRestored
God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
As I was reading I felt God begin to impress on me – that is what he is wanting to do in His people. He wants to begin a Genesis week in your life. He wants to breathe new life and growth into you.
The universe is always expanding. Always growing, always going. Bursting with life. That began in Genesis, when God spoke it into being. There is no limit on the creative power of God.
God has spoken some things into being in our lives. Some of us have promises that he has given us that we have not yet seen in the natural. But the scriptures promise us that if God began a good work in you, He is faithful to complete it and that His word does not return void! Stay faithful to your covenant with God. Keep trusting. Keep looking to Him. You may not see it yet, but if God has spoken it, it is on the way.
Some of us have seen the fulfillment of promises in our lives. They have walked out a portion of God’s plan for their life and now they feel that their time has past. God’s word is alive in you! The fulfillment of a work in you and through you is not the end of all work in you and through you. The fulfillment of a purpose in you is not the end of all purpose in you. He has more for you. The life and power he has spoken into you through His word is always growing and always expanding.
His word says that He makes all things new. He has made each of us the promise that He will never leave us or forsake us. The Bible is full of promises that God spoke into being for your life. I encourage you, keep walking with God. Keep reaching out to Him and seeking Him. He wants to start a Genesis week in you and breathe His life into you.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
As I was in prayer this week God began to show me a garden. It was scorched and dried up, choked by thorns and weeds. There was no green to be found, the leaves had all crumbled away and all that was left was dried twigs and branches. Then, there came a gust of wind and like a National Geographic time lapse video, leaves began to grow and flowers began to bud. Tiny shoots pushed their way up from the earth and grew into tall, strong plants. Fruit began to ripen on vines and the garden that was once dry and barren became bursting with life in just a matter of seconds.
We, as believers, are like a garden. We are meant to grow and bear spiritual fruit for the glory of God’s kingdom. (John 15:1-6) God promises us a harvest of blessing when we are faithful to Him. (Galatians 6:9) In order to be fruitful and bring a harvest there must be life in the garden. The garden that God showed me was dead at first. There are 2 key areas in this image of the dead garden that are important:
Lack of Water
In John 7:37-39 Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as “rivers of living water.”
Ephesians 5:26 says that we are cleansed through the washing of the water through the word of God.
Even the healthiest of plants cannot survive without water; when it is left with no source of water, it will shrivel and die. Regular watering is necessary to the life of the plant. A plant that is watered sporadically will eventually die if it is neglected. It may take longer than a plant that is receiving no water at all, but the end result is the same – lack of fruitfulness and failure to thrive. When we fail to water our hearts with the Holy Spirit and the truth we find in the Bible, we spiritually wither and dry up. The Bible says that we should be “watering” daily if we want to be fruitful as followers of Christ. (Joshua 1:8, Acts 6:4)
Weeds and Thorns
Jesus referred to weeds and thorns in his parables. In Matthew 13:3-8 He tells of a sower who plants seeds among thorns, which choke the plants and kill them. In Matthew 13:24-30 He talks about a man who had a wheat field. An enemy of the man came and planted tares, or weeds, amid the wheat to try to ruin the harvest.
We will encounter weeds in our lives – things that work against the purposes that God has set for us. Sometimes those weeds may be caused by circumstances or situations we face in our day-to-day lives. These are the common everyday weeds in the garden. Just as we overcome our circumstances through faith and obedience to God, our spiritual weeds are removed from the garden of our lives through faith and obedience. Our situations are capable of overwhelming us like weeds when we don’t allow God to prune them away through relying on His strength instead of our own.
Not only are there ordinary weeds that we face, the Bible says that we have an enemy that is seeking to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8.) We also encounter weeds in our lives that are deliberately planted by the enemy. The malicious potential in these attacks of the enemy are uprooted when we seek the Lord and walk in obedience to Him. (Leviticus 26:3) Our lives can only be a fruitful, healthy garden when we allow God to tend to us and remove the weeds that inevitably show up.
In the image of the garden that God showed me, the garden was not tended. It was completely dead. However, both of the conditions that led to that state were preventable. If we apply this to our own lives, this is great news! If we are diligent in the care of the garden of our lives, tending it as instructed by scripture, we will not only see life but experience fruitfulness. The fruit of the Spirit is evidence of a life surrendered to Christ. (Galatians 5:22-23)
But what if our garden is dead? What if we have dried up and are overwhelmed by the weeds that have stolen our strength? How does that wind that God showed me in the image of the garden come in to revive and resurrect it?
Resurrection and Life
God has given a word of life for you and that word is the mighty name of Jesus. In John 1:1-4 it refers to Jesus as “the Word” and says that in Him is life and that life is the light of all mankind. Jesus is the source of life. We access the life-giving power of Jesus through speaking His name. The Bible says that the power of life and death is in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21.) When we speak the name of Jesus, we tap into the source of life and allow him to work in us. The Bible promises that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13, Joel 2:32)
Over and over throughout scripture, the power of the name of Jesus is demonstrated. Jesus declared Himself as “the resurrection and the life” in John 11:25. He demonstrated his power over life and death through the resurrection of Lazurus and in His own resurrection. Not only did Jesus perform miracles, He promised that his followers would be able to use the power of His name.
Mark 16:17-18 “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
When the garden is not watered and weeds creep in, there is decay and death, but the Word promises that when we apply the name of Jesus to our lives that nothing is impossible for us. (Matthew 19:6, Mark 10:27) The Holy Spirit is compared to a “mighty, rushing wind” in the Bible. (Acts2:2) Calling on the name of Jesus releases the power of the Holy Spirit to work in us and bring life and renewal.
Waking What is Sleeping
In John 11:1-44 Jesus tell his disciples that their friend Lazurus “has fallen asleep, but I am going there to wake him up.” The disciples thought Jesus was talking about natural sleep, but He corrected them saying that Lazurus was in fact, dead. By the time Jesus arrives at the tomb after meeting with Mary and Martha, Lazurus had been dead for 4 days. In the natural order of things, life at this point has long departed and it’s return is impossible, but Jesus called out to Lazurus by name and Lazurus rose from the tomb. Then, Jesus commanded, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
Sometimes we look at the garden of our life and all we see are dead things. Sin may have come to disconnect us from God. Lack of faith or submission to God may have cut us off from His power in our lives. There may be areas of failure, defeat and destruction that is evident in our lives, but Jesus is the ultimate power. We may be overcome by circumstances and spiritually dead, but the Bible says that the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us. (Romans 8:11)
When we call on Jesus, His power is able to transform us and breathe life into that which is dead. In Isaiah 43:1 God says, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!” You, in particular, are important to God! The Bible says that He knows us by name and claims us as His own. Like Lazurus, He calls us individually, by name, to lay claim to us and breathe His life into us. Not only does He bring life, but when we are walking in submission to Him, He removes the grave clothes – the things that held us in bondage to that death state – and sets us free!
In Matthew 9:18-25, Jesus encounters a synagogue leader whose daughter had died. At the leader’s house there was a crowd of witnesses who could attest to the fact that she was dead, yet when Jesus arrived He said, “The girl is not dead, but asleep.” Remember, Jesus referred to the dead as sleeping because He holds power over death. The crowd laughed at Him, because they could see with their own eyes that she was dead, but then Jesus took the girl’s hand and she got up.
Something that God brought to my attention in the image of the garden was this; not only was life brought to the plants that were dead in the garden, but new life was created in the seeds that took root. Just like the crowd of people who were at the leader’s house perceived the death of the girl, there are areas in our lives that we may identify as dead. Continuing to believe in that particular area may seem pointless – after all, it is dead. People may even laugh at us for speaking words of faith in that area. Our response when we identify it as dead, is to bury it, to lay it to rest. Sometimes the things that we buried because we called them dead are in fact seeds that God wants to breathe life into!
Our garden may seem dead. We may feel neglected. We are not without hope! Begin applying the name of Jesus to your life! Whatever the situation is, God has power over it. It may be an area that we have been defeated in. It may be an addiction. Begin speaking the name of Jesus over your life and He will set you free! You may be facing a hopeless health issue. Your family may be struggling or your marriage at the brink of destruction. Speak life into that circumstance in the name of Jesus! You may feel purposeless, and given up on your hope and dreams. Call on the name of Jesus and He will birth new life into you and cause the dreams that He has set for you to come into being!
Sometimes tending to the garden is work. You may have to keep pouring water and pulling weeds. It may take time, but don’t grow weary in your labor, because God is faithful. He promises that there is life in the Word. The Word is living and alive in you and even that which is dead is not unreachable for Him. Even the impossible is possible through Him. His name is available for you to use and call upon. It is the Word of Life, and it is for you.
Many years of home schooling can leave a mom perplexed with bipolar-like feelings. Once that last lesson is taught at the end of the year, its cause for celebration. You breathe a sigh of relief, one more successful year done, and you can bet the farm, tomorrow you will sleep until at least 7 a.m.!
In the first weeks of summer, the last thing you want to do, or even think about, is school. Just about the time you’ve become relaxed and comfortable with an academically unaccountable lifestyle, you feel that gentle, though ever present gnawing at the back of your brain. It progressively grows, like the unrelenting itch of poison ivy. You have to scratch it, it even feels good to scratch, but you know the more you scratch, the more the itch will spread.
You carefully weigh the consequences. Are you ready for this? Can your brain handle it yet? Are you really ready to go all in? You know, once you’ve scratched, the infectious thrill of imparting knowledge will slowly consume you and take over your ever present thought, so you better be sure you’re willing to dive in.
Today, as I had come to the end of the administrative duties for the 2015-2016 school year, I found myself in the final stages of introducing a bright new world of 5th grade through the simple outlining of lessons. It became real with the first entry of my lesson plan book,
One. An eternity from the required 180 lessons to come.
Briefly, my enthusiasm waned. It’s like starting an entire life all over again. So daunting. It’s a triumph and a trial that flow together, mingling like the concoction of my cucumber salad of vinegar and sugar.
I’ve never been one to back away from a challenge. As I deliberately and meticulously wrote, Lesson 1, it felt like “the valley.” I thought, “So far from accomplishment, but so enticing nonetheless.”
Now THERE is a lesson!
I walked through a spiritual valley this summer. I relate to everything on a spiritual level. Everything. God is always teaching to those who will learn. How can I be a good teacher if I don’t actively embrace the concept of learning? There is a lesson in every trial, every low, AND on every high mountain top. Most people see the valley as the test. This is where you prove your faith and maturity, and rightly so. Without perseverance in our faith, we cannot grow. But lately the test of my maturity has been pressed upon the mountain top. Will I maintain faith, relationship, and fellowship with my God when I bask in His Glory and feel confident in His Will?
Somewhere in your spirit, you know, just as a home schooling mom knows, when it’s time to move to the next level. At first, you may resist and hesitate, but the knowing that God has something greater for you …… growth, learning, knowledge ……… He draws your heart to the challenge.
You KNOW this will require effort. You know this is starting over at ONE, on a new plane of understanding. But you can’t resist. You have to go. There is no alternative because you love God, just as I love my child and want to do the best I can by him. You know there’s more. You want it. I want it. Always.
As I wrote the all-inclusive, “Lesson 1,” today, I knew it was the beginning of 180 days of effort. 180 days of trial, learning, growing, occasional resistance from my 10 year old son at times, but it’s GODLY instruction that He has commanded me to bestow upon my child. It HAS to be done. Just as the next spurt of growth and spiritual revelation that God intends to bless me with is coming. One and the same.
So much rides on how we embrace His lessons. We learn so much better through a receptive heart, willing and eager to soar!
I see my spiritual growth, not like my son sees multiples or learning 4 digit division, but rather how he enjoys his favorite subjects of history and science. It’s exciting! It’s new and wondrous! It invites me to want to know more.
This analogy has given me a new perspective of Lesson 1. It doesn’t matter how far you’ve come, there is always a situation, a subject, a personal issue, SOMETHING, that God wants to talk to you about that starts us over at Day One. One day at a time for 180 days, 9 months, 36 weeks, gains my son a year of education. Can you imagine, how far God can bring us in 180 days on a spiritual level, with all that He has grown us in already?!
As that invasive, gnawing sensation of God’s beckoning turns into an itch, and as the itch demands to be scratched, and as your spiritual man cries out to answer the call ….. let your spirit be quickened, let your heart be encouraged, as you become aware of that which draws you towards greater strength, growth, and love for your God. Expect challenge, know there will be hard days, and embrace the longevity of strength. But know in the end, you will proceed to the next level. You will prevail …. In all your learning, perseverance, faith and growth, you will maintain the mountain top! Now that you’re aware of the itch, it’s almost impossible not to succumb.
One more time, I will start again, with Lesson 1.
~Sandra K. Yates
Sometimes friendships and relationships fade.
Sometimes during the seasons of life; like the turning of the leaves, the circumstances and people around us will change.
It isn’t always a bad thing.
Not everyone can go where God is calling you.
Sometimes we need a change so we can learn to grow or stand on our own.
One thing I do know for sure,
Jesus never changes!
Embrace the new uncharted territory you may be walking through. Take comfort in Jesus that will always be unchanged in an ever changing world.
~ XXOO Michelle Bollom
“For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, He’s always totally Himself. ~Hebrews 13:8 MSG