New Mercies I See 

A little over a week ago I stood at the 3rd gas station to find gas in Houston TX before Hurricane Harvey was to hit. 

Witnessing people cursing and name calling for taking the last bit of gas or cutting in line. All this was after braving the HEB and hundreds of people panic stricken grabbing stuff.

 I zoned out and was wondering about my Hometown of Rockport Texas and our home there. Thinking of my mom and sister that felt the need to evacuate early before they even called for a mandatory evacuation. 

So in classic storytelling fashion – I want to share with you all some of the back stories.

In 1970 a horrible Hurricane named Celia hit Rockport just 7 days after my twin sister Melissa and I were born two months premature. My daddy was a deputy sheriff in Rockport working the hurricane. I grew up hearing the horror stories of Celia from my parents. My dad had to wait out a tornado in a drainage ditch as he chose to get out of his patrol car checking on things. 

Spohn Hospital in Corpus Christi lost power and went on back up generator. My dad couldn’t get to hospital to check on us and at first had no clue it was twins since back then they didn’t do sonograms and my mom had all big babies for a tiny little petite woman so she didn’t expect twins either. 

My mom recently said she could not get back to see us for 3 weeks! I just could not imagine leaving your babies and dealing with a hurricane clean up too. She had 3 other babies at home and she said the longest hardest drive her and my daddy took was from Corpus to Rockport wondering if my brothers and sister and other family survived the storm. She said the devastation looked like a war zone. 

I know many friends that have recently made that same drive to check on their homes and families. Some with unimaginable relief gratitude and joy while many with unbelievable sorrow unknown futures and heartbreak. 

My momma just a week before Harvey was relaying stories of Celia as we spent a week down there vacationing and talking about a possible storm coming. 

No one imagined then the landscape of our close knit paradise like town would be forever altered. Long time landmarks and memory makers washed away or tangled up in the rubble of destruction Harvey produced.  

Some thought my sister was kind of crazy to leave so early and evacuate but she listened to the Holy Spirit – that still, small, but mighty voice in her knower to leave and get my mom and her to safety early. 

Some didn’t leave because some couldn’t evacuate or like so many times before the storms fizzled out. I don’t judge anyone for their choices to stay. I rode out a lot of Hurricanes in my life growing up inRockport Tx too. 

So as I shared before … when I was witnessing chaos around me and the cussing scared people all around I just started to pray. Asking God to forgive me for judging them. 

We are all hurting and scared and so I just kept standing at the gas tank praying until the gas thingy clicked. I looked at the monitor and it was $32.06. I told me daughter to quickly look up Psalm 32:6… I felt God was giving me a message. 

Therefore let everyone who is faithful pray to God immediately. When great floodwaters come, they will not reach him. ~ Psalm 32:6

I got an instant peace and knew as I shared in my post last week on this that God would spare us. That whatever we had to face He would be faithful to His promises. 

I ain’t gonna lie… the fake stories and hate circulating Facebook and the many horrific images made me lose my biscuits a few times and snap at some folks.

 But I kept saying to God – I will pray and I will not panic. Show me who I can help now. Forgive me for judging and not loving well. 

So I prayed and I warred and I declared this promise and many many more over my family and friends. And although many got more damage than others and my heart breaks for them… my immediate family and I suffered minimal damage in Rockport and no damage to our home here in Houston or our Country home/Ranch outside Victoria / Halletsville area. 

I am so grateful to my faithful loving God even when He answers prayers differently than I had hoped He would. 

I don’t share this to boast at all- know my heart- I share this to say that God is faithful and my only boast is in how awesome God is. 

My dear friend Annie shared with me years ago when I lost my Dad suddenly just two years after my brother Toby-she said Great is Thy a Faithfulness Michelle- His mercies are new every morning. 

I clung to that promise and those words and some days I did not believe that He was faithful and that how could anything good or better come tomorrow. 

But it did and it has and it will! 

As you listen to this song-read the lyrics below, I ask you to look at your landscape and circumstances differently. 

Rejoice with those that Harvey spared and Mourn with those that lost lives and homes and livelihoods.  

Don’t compare tragedies. 

Don’t think of all your belongings in the rubble-think of the breath in your lungs to survive another day. 

You were spared for a reason. 

I have stared at piles of rubble in floods and storms before holding tightly to the things of this world tighter than to God. I cried out and was mad at God for many things before and wanted nothing to do with Him but I found that when you are flat on your back hurting and clinging for a life line or glimmer of hope you can only look up. 

So …Look up!grab a hold of Him and trust Him. It is so much better than living without Him. 

Each and every one of us can make a difference. Some of us are gifted carpet ripper outters- Some are tree trimmers – cookers – hospitality Peeps that open homes -intercessors- comforters – encourages- babysitters-shoulders to cry on – Go getters – connectors – monetarily blessed to give – 

You don’t have to give like everyone else- you can help and give whatever way God has gifted you. 

I also pray that the wind and rains and high water we have experienced have also washed away every bit of division and hate in our land. 

May we unite as a strong and compassionate people truly loving our neighbors as our brothers and sisters and ultimately ourselves.  

May judgement be forever be removed and only mercy be our first response. 

May we hug our families and even strangers a little tighter today as we all start the rebuilding and restoration process. 

I ask the Lord to specifically restore my heart first and foremost before we start the rebuild or restoration of the minimal damage we experienced. 

I am grateful.
New mercies I see all around me!

 I am praying for you all from California to Rockport to Houston to Israel to every inch of this world in between that we are so beautifully connected somehow via Blogs or Facebook or Twitter in this great big world. 

We are ALL in this together. Let’s show the World we are who God wants us to be. 

Declare this song below with me today! 

            ~ XXOO Michelle Bollom 

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In the breakers that storm my faith

God my Rock and God my Hope

You will prevail

You’re the constant in a sea of change

What You’ve done and what You’ve said

Will never fade

What You’ve done and what You’ve said

Will never fade


Great is Your faithfulness

Great is Your faithfulness

Always and forever

Always and forever


There are memories that seize my heart

But they will never steal or tear our love apart

There are victories yet to come

They are certain as the rising of the sun

They are certain as the rising of the sun!


Great is Your faithfulness

Great is Your faithfulness

Always and forever

Always and forever!
Lyrics: Faithfulness – Iron Bell 
                  
A prior blog featured this song for #SongSunday – listen here  The Only Constant 

Charity 

WORTHY THOUGHT: Charity begins today. 

Today somebody is suffering. Today somebody is in the street. Today somebody is hungry. 

Our work is for today, yesterday has gone, tomorrow has not yet come. 

We have only today to make Jesus known, loved, served, fed, clothed, sheltered. 

Do not wait for tomorrow. 

Tomorrow we will not have them 

if we do not feed them today.

-Mother Teresa 


Proverbs 19:17(ESV)

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

Acts 20:35 (ESV)

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

James 1:27 (ESV)

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Once we take our eyes away from ourselves, our interest, and ambitions, then we will clearly see Jesus all around us.

~ Angela Lipe-Pattengill 

Redemption Prayer 

I hope everyone is surviving well in this great battle for the Kingdom that Our Savior has started and to which he is committed to finishing. 

 I was a POW recently, held captive by laziness and pride. All praise to Our Father and Our Lord for his redeeming grace and mercy.

I am resending Redemption Prayer, for we are instructed to pray when we are troubled, and this is certainly a day of trouble. The battle may be a silent one at times, but it has not ceased. The Lord is intent on establishing his Kingdom, and our enemy is committed to disrupting it wherever he can.

He knows that when the Kingdom fully arrives that he has an appointment in a very uncomfortable place. He cannot afford to rest; his only hope is to delay the arrival of the Kingdom.

Thank you, Father, for redeeming my life, forgiving me all of my sins and giving me a reason to live and a reason to die. Thank you for a forgiven past, a peaceful present, and a glorious future! 

Please bless your children, your church, and let us bless your holy name! Lead us in paths of righteousness for your name’s sake. Help us be faithful witnesses for Christ. Show us how to lay up our treasure in heaven, making decisions that will reap eternal rewards for us and those we love.

Be near, Father; hold our hands and lead us through this dark world, helping us shine the light of your glorious truth where it is needed the most.

For it is in Jesus’s name we pray and give thanks.

“Your brother and companion in the suffering and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are ours in Christ Jesus”,

Love in Christ,
~Brad Heilhecker 

          

Finding Your Mojo 


When your faith seems burnt out, and your sense of grace is growing dim, and your mercy with others has suddenly found limits- just think about the mind blowing fact of what Christ endured for you.  

Jesus took all our junk upon Himself, suffered horrendously for us and still – He had Complete Faith in His Father’s bigger plans and purposes. His grace shined beyond bright and was far reaching, and His mercy was always renewing day after day without an end! 

Those thoughts alone should help you find your Mojo! 

Jesus and His Holy Spirit is my Mojo! 

mojo

noun mo·jo \ˈmō-(ˌ)jō\

Simple Definition of mojo:

a power that may seem magical and that allows someone to be very effective, successful, etc.


 The Spirit of the Lord helps us keep our Faith on fire, our sense of grace burning big and bright; far and wide, and our mercy towards others always renewed and beyond limits. 

~XXOO Michelle Bollom #LiveRestored 

How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:21 MSG 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ~ Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV 

For it is by grace God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ that you have been saved actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life through faith. And this salvation is not of yourselves not through your own effort, but it is the undeserved, gracious gift of God; ~Ephesians 2:8 AMP  

I will heal their faithlessness; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. ~Hosea 14:4 CEB 

Bravery 


I am always left in awe at the blessings the Lords gives to me. They are so great in number that I could not list them all here, but in so many instances I do not deserve them.

 However, the Lord loves me more than I could ever comprehend, and He blesses me anyway.  

I recently heard this amazing song on the radio entitled “You Make Me Brave” by Amanda Cook and Bethel Music. 

 The lyrics of the song start by saying the love of the Lord is for us, and He is the One who makes us brave enough to endure and conquer the trials of life. God is for us–He is not against us. And Christ made a way for everyone to know Him in this life. He is our Champion.  
 

It is so incredible to know that we have Someone to turn to, and that we do not have to be afraid. No matter what we may be facing in life, each of us can run into the arms of grace–Jesus Christ.  

 
There have been so many times in my own life where the Lord has had to make me brave. 

 Honestly though, His strength is the only reason I have been able to endure anything.

 I am so grateful to know His grace and mercy are ever present, and that when life gets too tough, I can go “beyond the shore into His grace.”  

~ Heather Snyder
“You Make Me Brave”
I stand before You now

The greatness of your renown

I have heard of the majesty and wonder of you

King of Heaven, in humility, I bow


As Your love, in wave after wave

Crashes over me, crashes over me

For You are for us

You are not against us

Champion of Heaven

You made a way for all to enter in


I have heard You calling my name

I have heard the song of love that You sing

So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore

Into Your grace

Your grace


You make me brave

You make me brave

You call me out beyond the shore into the waves

You make me brave

You make me brave

No fear can hinder now the love that made a way


You make me brave

You make me brave

You call me out beyond the shore into the waves

You make me brave

You make me brave

No fear can hinder now the promises you made

You make me brave

You make me brave

No fear can hinder now the love that made a way



Love Conquers All 


My heart was pounding as I walked into the courthouse that day. I didn’t know what to anticipate. My husband and I were about to force a legal petition to the court, evicting one of our friends.

At a desperate time in his life, we extended our hand. We extended our heart. Now, we had to evict him for non-payment of rent.

My mind was playing tricks, producing negative scenarios, so that I would fear the worse. The enemy wanted me to feel defeat in this place. He confirmed my fears by telling me lies.

I was bombarded by my emotions. I had to take a moment out and just pray. 

I needed God’s guidance, I needed to feel him close to me.

I knew….the truth

…..Our friend…knew the truth

……….And….our God knew everything….

It was a difficult place to be and I was deeply saddened to see the negative impact that drugs had caused our friend. I could see it in his face, his apology, his heart.
Then God did something amazing. He came and filled us [all] with His presence.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.~1 Peter 4:8

We sat, talked, and came up with a satisfactory plan. Though part of the resolution required us to help him move his things out, the message was about the space that lay within the heart.

God spoke and said, “Yes, drugs may have power, but the ability to love in the darkness, has more power.”

We all came into agreement that day. We agreed that friendship is far more valuable than what is owed. We were able to speak about the power that resides in us all, and the ability to accomplish God’s great plan for our life. 

My husband and I were reminded that without the support of those who love, staying stuck in the dark becomes normal. Hopelessness wrongly seems right.

Love offered to someone, at its purest form, helps them to release the power of fear. It gives strength and the ability to walk towards the light, and in the direction of the Lord.

May the Lord guide us out of the dark places in our hearts. May we go in the direction of love. My hope is that we all find someone that we can offer value to, even those who least deserve it. Let us be reminded that we were all in need of such grace, at one point in our life. 

May the Lord bless us in wisdom and understanding that He is the Almighty, perfect in power, and always faithful to forgive.

Blessings to you this Tuesday my friend!

          ~Baring His Beauty,

             Tiffany Thomas 

Power Packed Utterances 


Save, Lord! Help, Father! Thank you, Father! I praise you, Lord! Come, Holy Spirit! Maranatha!  

Short but sweet, and pleasing to Our Father’s ears.  

Words of grace, power packed utterances.  

Sometimes it takes less than we think to reach Our Father’s heart; no need for lengthy prayers or heroic deeds, just simple heart cries that speak to our gracious, loving Heavenly Father’s waiting ears.

The fervent prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective. We must abide in Christ – walking in faith and love, pray in faith, and pray with passion. God is passionate about kingdom matters, and so must we be if we are to walk side by side with him. As we pray, we patiently wait and watch for the unfolding of his answers.

Faith, hope, and love; mercy, grace, and peace; wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, love, joy, and peace – Our Father’s gifts to us are graciously dispensed to hungry hearts.  

Humility and the fear of the Lord – the keys to the kingdom which he has lavishly bestowed on us, an everlasting kingdom, a never ending relationship with the Great I Am and the family of the redeemed – free for the asking.

Let us not forget to pray for a harvest of souls – the heartbeat of The Father. Our eternity is already guaranteed, but the souls of many hang in the balance waiting for someone to bring Good News. And let us not neglect the poor – another key to the Father’s heart. We who have both the Gospel and material means are doubly obligated to share with those in need.

So we pray fervently, wait expectantly, then act decisively. We pray for Our Savior’s heart, we wait for his loving reply, and we move and speak at his command. His will, his way, in his time, for his glory, and the blessing of the elect.

            ~Brad Heilhecker 

Ode To Grace 


What can we do that the Lord is not doing through us? What can we pray without the help of the Holy Spirit? What can we think without the Word of God resonating in our souls?

 It is enough to yield to the Lord’s work in us, to pray in the Spirit, and to meditate on the Word. It is enough to keep our hearts and our minds focused on Christ. It is enough to know that we are the beloved children of God.

Every heartbeat, every breath, every thought, every feeling we have is a gift. We are the benefactors of Our Father’s beneficent Spirit. He lives to give. He delights in having children on whom to bestow his gifts. He grieves when we don’t allow him to give himself to us; he grieves for us and for himself, for we all lose out when we refuse his gifts of grace.

God’s pleasure and our good are inextricably connected. He delights in the prosperity of his servants. He rejoices when we live well, when our hearts are wise, when we speak well. We, as his children, have the awesome privilege of bringing joy to Our Father. If we focus on pleasing him, he makes sure that we are happy and joyful. If he is living in us and he is happy, how can we be otherwise?

Our outrageous inheritance is eternal bliss. As we deal with the sorrows of this life, let us not miss this. Right now, we are in a war – a war for the souls of men. It is not easy; it is not always fun, and it requires rigorous discipline sometimes.  

Even Christ learned obedience by what he suffered. He, like us, came from and was heading back to heaven, where there is no suffering. Only here can we learn the lessons and acquire the disciplines that suffering brings. The only thing perfect about this life is that it is a perfect training ground for heaven.

Heaven will be all about Jesus; it is his kingdom. We are here for only a short time to learn to live and to serve in his kingdom. We are born self centered; we must learn to be God centered. It is his mercy that we often have 80 or more years in which to perfect this art. We must learn that we become more like who we were created to be the more we let Jesus have his way in our hearts and lives. We must lose the fear of losing ourselves.

Grace, mercy, & peace,

Brad Heilhecker 

He Hears Us


We all have times where we find ourselves in need of something more. We desperately seek and search for the heart of our Father, even when we don’t realize that is what we are searching for.

  He is the fullness to our void. 

He awaits our surrendering heart. He calls us deeper into His love so that we might have life in abundance. He has been listening; He hears the voice of his children and He provides comfort to the humble heart. 

“Hear me, Lord, and answer me,

for I am poor and needy.

Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;

save your servant who trusts in you.

You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,

for I call to you all day long.

Bring joy to your servant, Lord,

for I put my trust in you.

You, Lord, are forgiving and good,

abounding in love to all who call to you.

Hear my prayer, Lord;

listen to my cry for mercy.

When I am in distress, I call to you,

because you answer me.”

-Psalm 86 1-7 NIV

~ Baring His Beauty,

    Tiffany Thomas 

Radiant Diamonds 

  
Diamonds have so many facets to them. 
The spectrum of those facets and colors can be endless.

That is exactly how God’s love is for us, like radiant diamonds.

 I just love that visual.  

Today I started my day seeing only the black coal all around me and not the possibility of the diamonds. I awoke anxious, irritable, grouchy, sad, among a ton of other emotions.  

I soon felt like God spoke to my heart:


You want to start this day your way or Yahweh’s? 

I needed a reset! 

So I stopped, prayed, praised and read His promises. 
 Soon that dark thick layer of soot was gone and I could once again see His amazing love and feel His perfect peace shining brightly all through and around me.  

I no longer had angst over my husband’s drawers left in the floor. I was thankful I had a husband to leave drawers for me to pick up. I no longer despised the washer for overflowing water and praised God that I have a very petite daughter to climb on top to get in that small area to wipe it up.   
As I was praising and worshipping I could feel my Joy rising again. My hallelujah’s began to multiply. Why? 

Because 

I have surrendered to Your design……

Not my way but Yahweh’s!
~XXOO Michelle Bollom 

Multiplied – Need To Breathe 

Lyrics

Your love is like radiant diamonds

Bursting inside us we cannot contain

Your love will surely come find us

Like blazing wild fires singing Your name
God of mercy sweet love of mine

I have surrendered to Your design

May this offering stretch across the skies

And these Halleluiahs be multiplied
Your love is like radiant diamonds

Bursting inside us we cannot contain

Your love will surely come find us

Like blazing wild fires singing Your name
God of mercy sweet love of mine

I have surrendered to Your design

May this offering stretch across the skies

And these Halleluiahs be multiplied
(Multiplied)

(Oh multiplied)
God of mercy sweet love of mine

I have surrendered to Your design

May this offering stretch across the skies

And these Halleluiahs be multiplied
These Halleluiahs be multiplied
(Your love is like radiant diamonds)

(Bursting inside us we cannot contain)

(Your love will surely come find us)

Like blazing wild fires singing Your name