Power Of The Tongue

WORTHY THOUGHT: The most powerful weapon in the universe is your tongue.

Death and Life are in the power of the tongue. Those who love it will eat its fruit.  -Proverbs 18-23

What is violence? In the first place, we think weapons, knives, killings. We never think of connecting violence with our tongues. But the first weapon, the most cruel weapon, is the tongue. Examine what part of your tongue has played in creating peace or violence. 

We can really wound a person, we can kill a person with your tongue.  -Mother Theresa 

Take ships as an example although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. -James 3:4-6, 10 

Gods Word that is conceived in your heart, then formed by the tongue, and spoken out of your mouth, becomes a spiritual force releasing the ability of God within you. ~ Charles Capp 

Meditate on scriptures to learn how to use your words wisely. Words we speak will either build you up or hold you in bondage. Many people have been taken captive by using their own words.

      ~Angela Lipe-Pattengill 

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Thank You God 


God never said life would be easy. He promised never to leave us while we are going through it!

No man will [be able to] stand before you [to oppose you] as long as you live. Just as I was [present] with Moses, so will I be with you; I will not fail you or abandon you. ~Joshua 1:5 AMP

Thank you Jesus for loving me and for being steadfast in everything.

Thank you for never giving up on me, for meeting me [no matter where I was at] in the wilderness.

Thank you for providing me a safe place to rest, especially when there was no where else to run. Thank your for your protection over my heart from my enemies and myself.

Thank you for teaching me about the importance of relationship and new areas I needed to find growth. Thank you for providing support when I felt like I was all alone.

THANK YOU GOD for calling me your servant, and for allowing me to see myself in you. Thank you for your Holy Spirit who always sits, ready, and waiting to demolish the enemy’s voice by your TRUTH.

Today, Lord I want to just thank you!

Friends,  One lesson that I enjoy learning more and more about… is God’s love. May you find gratitude, contentment and peace, as you continue to find valuable tools tucked in between the verses in God’s word.

May you find yourself experiencing His blessings this week!
       ~Baring His Beauty,

          Tiffany Thomas 

Lesson Learned 


I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw. –Proverbs 24:32

Not too long ago, I was having a rough morning. I knew the day would require caffeine. I decided to take a detour towards Starbucks on my way to work. As I turned into the parking lot, I recognized the driver behind me. I remembered her well.

This woman was responsible for some ‘old history’ that was the enemies playground with my emotions. I could feel myself becoming more irritated as my mind reminisced old memories.

And then Jesus spoke, “Buy her coffee.”

“What did you say? Buy her coffee?”

Again He said, “Buy her coffee.”

I didn’t want to. Her actions had caused hurt, pain and frustration which formed bitterness within me.

Then Jesus said, “Giving isn’t always for the recipient, it may be offered as a gift to the Giver of all.”

Usually being obedient to His call is a great lesson for you.

In that moment I understood that even though my anger and bitterness had not been reconciled that my feelings reside in my heart and He was inviting me to change my heart by forgiving.

He reminded me, “I came to restore ALL.”

I had to consider that not all lessons are for other people. I learned that Jesus’ timing is perfect and he prepares specific lessons just for me.

I needed to forgive and reconcile my heart by being obedient and accept His challenge before me.

So, yes, I bought the women her coffee with the new understanding in my heart.

A heart that gives regardless of pain’s grip, is a heart ready to reflect true freedom from the Giver of all.

Do you have a gift waiting to be received?

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for giving Your life in sacrificial love to ALL of us. Thank You for reminding me when I discover hidden bitterness in my heart, that I may choose to forgive and reflect You instead. Help me to be more full of You. 

In Jesus name, Amen.

~ Baring His Beauty,

    Tiffany Thomas

My pieces For His Peace 

  
After all the kids were dropped off at school this morning, I walked in the door and plopped my rear on the couch, hoping it would take me to Nowhereville. I was already feeling exhausted and it was only 8:30 a.m.. All morning I had had a knot in my chest. You know that feeling when you’ve been suppressing anxiety, sadness, and anger? It’s that moment when you are at risk of cascading a waterfall of tears with just one kind word from a stranger.

 
                I knew God was knocking on my door. As I fell into the safe haven of the sofa, I sarcastically asked, “OK, what is it now, God?” I wanted to be sure He understood I had plenty on my plate already. Didn’t He know how hard I was trying? Didn’t He understand the discipline I was exercising by being patient in letting Him call the shots, when part of me was reining back the human instinct to take the bull by the horns? I pointed out, this was an instinct HE gave me, (by the way)! Yep, I was pretty much feeling sorry for myself when I answered His call to prayer.

 

                As I heaved a sigh, I asked Him, “What do you want me to do?” He gently, and ever so patiently replied, “Nothing. Let it go. Talk to Me, I’m listening. Let Me give you a hug.” There was that one word of kindness that released the flood gates, but it didn’t come from a stranger. It came from the One who knows me best.

 

                To say the past few months have been challenging is a gross understatement. From losing my home, my dogs, my mountain, my marriage, to releasing my son out into the world for the first time, and staring an uncertain future in the eye, there have been times when it’s been overwhelming. The one kindness our unkind predicament has bestowed is that it has come in doses. Not everything has happened all at once, but in phases. Those phases have occurred at a rapid pace, one right after another, but God has walked both Sam and I through each one before we were hit with the next. It has been amazing to experience the expedition of healing and grace.

 

                There is no denying that God has had His hand on us. I have seen Him work so mightily these past few months. I sincerely give HIM all the glory and praise for provision, favor, opening (and closing) doors, and even the unbounding grace He has shown us. Allowing Him to do that hasn’t always been easy. It gets easier, the longer you walk in faith, but God isn’t one to sit back and let you idly remain dormant. He’s going to stretch you. He’s going to call you up higher. He’s going to push you to depend on Him more and more. However, He doesn’t require we do it alone. He’s always there to lend a hand …. or give a hug.

 

                I have noticed an emotional pattern develop within me. Dealing with separation and divorce, losing everything, not knowing what the future holds (do any of us know anyway?), these things have been relatively easy for me to handle. It has come to my attention that my emotions get stoved up and knots form in my chest when Sam is being affected by the situation. For the most part, he has been a trooper! God has worked in him just as much as He has in me. But when I see Sam struggle, that which has lain quietly, camouflaged beneath the gentleness of a Godly woman, suddenly lunges forth as the lioness of motherhood. You can strip me of everything I own, you can blame me, hurt my feelings, call me names, but you do not, under ANY circumstances, mess with my boy.

 

                Now I’m not saying there has been direct affliction on Sam. I’m speaking indirectly. When I see him face difficult situations that he wouldn’t otherwise be experiencing, it makes me angry. I want to blame, blame, blame! I want to lash out and rip the face off the one who brought us here. Instead, I stuff it down. I encourage Sam, I stand tall and strong for Sam. Eventually however, I must face the demons of my inner thoughts. They have to be dealt with, lest they lead to bitterness and unforgiveness.

 

                This is what God and I talked about this morning. He asked, so I spilled it.

                This is how He replied.

 

                Be angry but do not sin. He told me there is no one to blame. He reminded me I have depended on HIM to lead and I am here in obedience and by choice. He prompted me to release bitterness and unforgiveness because ‘that other guy’ is also His child. He told me to protect, but there would be no “ripping off of faces,” except the face of unrighteousness and unholiness which is masked in the deceit of justification. He encouraged me and showed me how far He has brought me. He showed me how He has my son in the palm of His hand, with mercy, grace, wisdom and strength round about him. Then He gave me a daddy hug, patted me on the back, and sent me back out here to do His will.

 

                As I pondered all that He had said, I realized that He was telling me I had a right to be angry, but when I hold on to it and let it turn into bitterness and unforgiveness, this is where I sin. Just because I am justified in how I feel, doesn’t mean I am justified in denying forgiveness.

 

                It became clear to me that many in my situation would be falling apart, aimlessly wandering, clinging to bitterness, and maybe even hopelessness. It is by His direction and grace that the whole of my life I have dwelled in His peace. Because of that, right now, my life is not in pieces. He is the author and finisher of my faith.

                        ~Sandra K. Yates

Lesson 1

  
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, 
Lesson 1.
 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 

Make Your Own Bed

  

How many times have you heard the often condescending, tough love, and sometimes, judgmental quote, 
“You made your bed, now you can sleep in it.” 
Where it’s not quite as motivating as 
“You reap what you sow,” I believe most people mean it in a good way. 

I’d like to think I’m not the only person who does this, but some mornings I get up late. I’m in a rush, and making the bed is an everyday, mundane, five minute chore. 
Especially in my current living situation, but really all my life, I’ve felt like if a bed is unmade, it makes the whole room look trashed. Back in the day, if I knew one of the boys’ beds was not made, it haunted me like a sin unconfessed, until I went upstairs to pay penance and made it right.
 For me, making the beds HAS to be done.

When I’ve had a really solid, good night’s sleep, which isn’t often, sometimes the bed doesn’t look that bad. The blankets are pretty much in place rather than the abstract art I generally create during the course of tossing and turning through the night. So, in my rush, rather than strip off the quilt and comforter, shaking the sheets to rid the dust until wash day, and fitting the sheets properly, I’ll “arrange.” 
It goes like this. OK, so if I just give a tug here and a pull there, yeah, I can get it all to line up, but that tug made the comforter uneven and this pull doesn’t make the lines straight, and now I’m back to wrangling the sheets in place. Consequently, I will spend more time trying NOT to make the bed, than it would have taken to do it properly. Inevitably, every time, I end up with having wrinkles in my sheets, uneven blankets, and a completely unsatisfied feeling. Sheesh!

As I was doing this (just the other day), it occurred to me how we try to do this with life. 

When you go through a traumatic experience in life, such as a death in your family, divorce, or even a break up with a boy/girlfriend, there is a mess of stuff left behind. Things get jumbled and mixed up. Feelings, emotions, beliefs, and self-worth get tossed around, kicked about, and confused. One of the mistakes I’ve made, is trying to rearrange all that stuff in a quick fix. Let’s stuff if all under the crumpled covers and pretend it isn’t there. How many people do that?
If you dump or get dumped by someone, all your friends are egging you on with “more fish in the sea,” and taking you out to party and find “the next, better guy.” While in your heart, things are rumpled, confused, and your self-worth is wrinkled. There has been no time to put it into perspective, make things right, and work it out. It’s a quick fix to cover the unsightly mess you’ve just witnessed and possibly helped create. I focus on this particular situation, because it’s the most common one, and also, the most inevitable mistake.
If I have learned anything in life, it’s this. Everything, EVERY THING, is a learning experience. If you don’t take time to learn the lesson, you will go around that same problem, conflict, MOUNTAIN, as did the Israelites, again and again. 
God created us with feelings and emotions, so we would love, give, have compassion and sacrifice …… in a minute understanding of His love for us. We are supposed to feel, hurt, cry, laugh, and experience the epitome of emotion. Society, pride, and defense tell us not to feel. Don’t work through it, don’t learn a lesson here, move on, BLAME, and forget about it.
I’m here to tell you, that’s a trap, a vicious cycle that will only lead to more heartache, not just for you, but for those you will touch thereafter.
There is always something to gain, always. 

With a knowing eye, a father might warn his daughter of a boy who is a player. He sees it. He knows, for it may have been him at some point. The daughter doesn’t listen, she falls for the boy and he hurts her. What does Daddy expect? He expects his daughter not just to adhere to wisdom in the future, but to learn a lesson and gain wisdom from experience on her own.
So our Father expects of us. 
Everyone will experience loss, disappointment, and pain. I would encourage you, especially the younger generation, to pause before you “arrange” the situation. Take time to remove the covers of confusion, get in touch with the reasons you’re feeling how you feel. Investigate why there was a failure, what mistakes you made, how can you avoid making them again. Be honest with yourself and don’t just blame someone or something else. Shake off all the dirt of unforgiveness and bitterness that was left behind, and learn the lessons of failure by doing it right, so you can walk away with a sense of pride. Don’t mask the problem with another man, another relationship, that is already doomed because you haven’t worked through the last failure. 
Don’t make half attempts at life. The road less traveled is sometimes harder right now, but in the long run, it’s so, SO much more rewarding.
Take ……. a breath. Take time. The time you spend recovering will be a fraction of the time you spend repairing.
For everything, there is a season.
     ~Sandra K. Yates 


When God Winks

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Wink-close and open one eye quickly, typically to indicate that something is a joke or a secret or as a signal of confirmation or affection or a greeting.

Have you ever had a moment or situation that you just felt like you got a big ole wink from God? Recently I went for my six month labs to check to see how I am doing health-wise. I dread these labs. I know dread is wrong so I am working on that too…not dreading them or anything else.
I used to get labs every three months and now I get a little reprieve and the doctor has cut it back to twice a year. The problem is not the needle stick… My problem is the fear of the results. The results can reveal when I have been disobedient and in a state of rebellion. I confess I have been lacked on my exercise and on my eating. I have had a hard time being consistent in making these areas a priority lately. I have been on “vacation eating mode” for the last two years. I am not quite sure what happened to get me off track or keep me derailed. The Holy Spirit has been speaking to me about this. I want to obey and have the spirit lead me but I seem to do it for a few days or weeks but I always seem to keep reverting back to old habits and don’t fully heed the Spirit’s leading. I can’t seem to find my groove. My last two labs revealed great areas with the need for improvement. My clothes and body are also speaking to me about those choices and my avoidance of exercise. I went in convinced that no matter what the doctor said I would own my choices, apologize and promise to do better. Surprisingly I got the PA instead of my doctor so inside I was relieved. Then the PA precedes to mention the scale fluctuations and previous not so great labs. I go into my spill about life has gotten in the way, I am really busy and have not been making the best choices… Ya ya ya— blah blah blah. The PA in a very plain and firm but still polite kind of way says “you know what to do, you know how to eat, you know the importance of exercise. It is your choice, do you want to have another stroke? Do you want to die a premature death? Keep doing what your doing, it’s your choice- you get to choose.” (Ouch!)
I normally would of been offended so evidently all the work God is doing with me on being unoffendable must be taking root. I was not offended at all. I just nodded and said to her, “you are absolutely right!”

I felt in that moment God had just winked one of those side mouth clicking noise one eye closed finger pointing – aha! Did you catch all that.. kind of winks. It was not a wink of a joke or secret, no it was His loving and affectionate way of confirming what His Holy Spirit has been trying to speak to me for awhile. He needed to get my attention in a very direct way. I smiled and Thanked God for His wink!
God speaks to us all in different ways. I have resolved that I want to make choices for health and strength not just to look and feel better but so that I can be the best version of Me I can possibly be so that I can do all God has called me to do. I also don’t want to grieve or disobey God. So I dusted off some of His great Promises to focus on and prayed for God to give me some “stickitude”.
Have you had a wink from God? Tell us in the comments below.

~XXOO Michelle Bollom

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is beneficial. ~1 Corinthians 10:23 NLT

God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.~ 1 Corinthians 6:20 NLT

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. ~ Philippians 4:13 NLT

Come In

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After a recent bout with food poisoning and being the sickest I can ever remember, this song really resonated with me. This version of the song is just 2 minutes and 10 seconds long. The song is “Come In” by Heather Clark – You can search for an upbeat longer version too that is good, but the simple short and sweet version here is my favorite.

The lyrics to this spontaneous version are on the video link.

I was so sick and I was asking God, What do you want to be for me that you couldn’t be before this happened? (Something I am learning in my study of Brilliant Thinking by Graham Cooke)
I had asked over and over and not really got the answer. It started Sunday night and rolled on into Tuesday before I was getting any better. Tuesday this song shuffled and I put it on repeat as the words “Total Abandonment” kept resonating with me.

So I looked up the definition.

This is the definition of Abandonment-
The self-surrender to an outside influence.
Abandon; careless freedom or ease; surrender to one’s emotions.

Wow! God was getting my attention. As I laid so weak I could barely move with my head in a bucket for hours upon hours to the point of almost dehydration… I was powerless. I could not help but be surrendered to whatever was causing me so much sickness. I then started thinking about how many times we surrender to our emotions? How many times do we surrender to pressures or to outside influences that harm us instead of uplift us? How many times do we fuss and fume when mishaps or disappointments come our way? I know for me, far too many. Our Total Abandonment, like the definition says; self-surrender, but instead of to outside influences, we always need to make sure it is to the Inside Influence. Total Abandonment to The Holy Spirit.

Thankfully we simply just have to “Come In” to His presence. When we do Come In, we experience rest, refreshment, restoration, resolution, peace and healing. Maybe even some great life lessons too if we are open to them.

When we can find the God lessons in ALL of life’s moments, the good and the not so good, we start to live the upgraded restored life that God intended for us. We need to abandon all the hectic stressful stuff and choose to be fully abandoned to Christ. There we find true freedom, not careless freedom. There we find His perfect rest.

Won’t you Come In? Come In to His Presence… Come In to meet the King… Come In with Total Abandonment. He is waiting. XXOO~Michelle Bollom

Bad Gardener

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Yard of the Month? Uh – no. I don’t think so! I am a bad gardener. I have a brown thumb. Things die, inexplicably, under my care. It’s not that I don’t love flowers. I do! I love to look at trees, pretty bushes, and really enjoy the smell of a forest. I know that plants swap my carbon dioxide for life-giving oxygen. I am all in, okay? But. And it’s a big one (which, ironically, I DO know how to grow), that is just not where my talents lie. Or maybe it’s that my “talents lie”. They lure me with the siren song of every garden center I drive by. It’s the lure of pansies and mums in the fall, snap dragons in the spring. And in the summer, who doesn’t love beautiful geraniums (which my neighbor was previously convinced was an “un-killable” plant)? I just wish I had a dollar for every time my husband looked at the back of my car filled with plants, shook his head in resignation and helped me unload.
I like the look of flowers. I’m a good designer. I just don’t want to be in charge of how they get into the flower bed and, consequently, stay alive. All this being said, God engineered a pretty funny situation for me a few weeks ago. After my husband was diagnosed with a severe allergy to grass, weeds and pretty much all the stuff you would find in our yard, I now find myself the owner/manager of the yard responsibility. Not cool! “YIKES! God! You know I’m not good at this!” He laughs when I freak out sometimes and holds up His index finger in the universal “Wait for it…” sign.
So Saturday found me in our flower beds raking, pulling weeds and in general cutting back things that were starting to scare our neighbors. It was a beautiful day and I even had a happy attitude. Good music in the earphones? Check. Bottle of water? Check. Was I stalling? Check. After a stern pep talk to myself, I began trimming bushes. “Please, Lord, don’t let me bald these things!” Minutes passed. I backed up to admire my handiwork and WHACK! I ran into a half-hidden, dead, jumbled mess of what used to be some kind of bush which had been cut down to the ground. I know what you’re thinking, but I really don’t think I can take the credit for this one. I’m new to this, remember? After rubbing the scratch on my ankle, I gave it a wide berth and resumed my work. Trying to stay in one section (ok, yes, I was bored), I switched to raking. Anyway, I stepped back to admire my handiwork once more and WHACK! You got it. Same mass of dead root thing. I was so busy doing my own thing that I forgot it was there. Only this time, I was ready. I got my hand-held snipper-thingy and cut as much of it away as I could. There! That ought to fix it. No way I’m getting scratched again. Five minutes later? BAM! Yep. You guessed it. I tripped over it this time and just caught myself before I went face down in the leaf pile. Not nearly as romantic as it sounds when it’s 85 degrees and humid. Grrrr! The more I looked at that thing, the more I was convinced that there was no other recourse than to pull it out by the roots, completely. That being done, though, I realized that with a big open hole in my vicinity, I was very likely to hurt myself AGAIN on it. I needed to dig the thing up, throw it away and cover the hole completely…or, wait a minute! I could plant something else there! I think my husband is shaking his head again…
And so it is with sin, Grasshopper. At first, it was half-hidden. It was not even on my radar. One minute I was doing my own thing and WHACK! It drew first blood. I knew it was there and its potential power to hurt me, but I took the lazy way out and decided just to keep an eye on it. Circle around it. The next time it “attacked”, I trimmed it down, got rid of most of it and thought I had dealt with it but WHACK! There it was again. With sin, as with dead plants and weeds, you have to uproot them. Nothing good will ever grow there as long as you have a dead thing as a place holder. If you want life-giving, beauty, you have to get rid of that dead, ugly thing taking up space. But even better than digging it up and filling the hole with dirt? Plant a beautiful thing there in its place. Ask God to help you do the heavy lifting. He’s a Master Gardener. He knows how deep you’ll need to dig to get all the roots. He knows what work you will need to do to prepare the soil. He will gladly trade out that ugly, hurt-sustaining sin with His love, His peace, His continual presence to guide you. He will grow beauty in the place where you never expected it…And just like me with my brown thumb, I’m no good left on my own. I need the help of Someone who knows about gardening. As long as I stay close to my friend, the Master Gardener, I learn a little more each day, until one day, people are driving by my house, looking at the yard…not laughing at the crazy lady hopping around in her flower bed, holding her leg. Sigh!

Warning: Off-topic moment approaching: Wow. By the way, for those of you moms who want to grasp that ever-elusive feeling of accomplishment you can’t get from driving kids around, I highly recommend raking. Effort=immediate reward, for sure! There is instant, tangible proof you can point to of what you have spent your time on. Sorry! That sounds like another post for another day…

~ Debbie Bouckley

The Kid’s Got It Right!

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Jud is my 15 year old. He has always been a deep thinker and a Christ like kid. God has used Jud many many times to set me straight or to show me something I obviously wasn’t getting on my own. Back when he was ten and in the 5th grade he came and sat by me late one night. He said to me: “Mama we really need to go to Hollywood and talk to those people. They don’t know that what they are doing …. is just not right. We know right from wrong . . . I think it is our job to tell them and to explain it to them. Then they might not do some of the things they do.” So what was I supposed to say? I agreed with him and told him he was so right. And that we will work on that. He walked back upstairs and went back to bed.

Here he comes again. . . “Mama I have a great idea! Wouldn’t it be cool if we could get an article that could be on the front page of a New York Newspaper or one of those big newspapers in California? Maybe when people pick it up to read the news they could see the headlines DAVID DEFEATS GOLIATH! You know they would want to read it!” He was getting excited at this point and loud. Then he said “It is a good true story and one that would be hard to stop reading once they started. Whoever reads it would see that the good guy wins. And that David was not alone and that is how he faced his challenges. Momma we all face challenges and I just don’t know how so many people in the world can get thru life’s troubles without God. This would be something that they could read thinking it was news and then get just a tiny bit of a story that shows how David did it in Bible times and how we can do it today”. I told him that could possibly be the best idea ever and that we will have to work on that! Then Jud went back to bed.

Here he comes again…you can see that all of this is still heavy on his mind. He said . .“Mama I just love it when the Bible bus comes to school. I wish they came every day. I think it would be good if our school (a public school by the way) would take just a few minutes off of each class like math, P.E., reading and create a new subject. If we studied the Bible like a regular subject we would really know all of it by the time we graduated high school. I like all the history they teach us in class and all that we’ve learned that has lead us up to today. But why aren’t we learning the History that’s in the Bible? All that happened long before this “history” that they are teaching us now? We need to know as much as possible to share it with everybody else.” I told him that I thought he was on to something! All I could say was how smart he was and that we will have to work on it!

I sat there in awe of how smart this 10 year old was. How he has it all figured out and I went to bed with my head spinning.

The next morning, on the way to school, just before I dropped them off, he looked at me and said “Mama, do we have a game plan yet? We have a lot to do don’t we?”

Yes we do son, yes we do . . . .

To this child (then and now) it’s still very simple It’s written in black and white & RED.

We must go and tell. Do His work and get up every morning and do it again.

“Let’s get to work.”

Matthew 28:16-20 NIV The Great Commission
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Romans 8:28.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 6:22-23
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

~ Susan Q. Bailey