He Is Here 


Many times in my life I have questioned, “Is God really here?” Is he here when a mother loses her precious child? Is he here when she cries out in pain? Is he here when grief seems harder than living? Is he here when sickness has no end? Is he here when hate is favored over loving? Is he here when it seems as if the world were going to break? Is he here?

Even still,
HE IS HERE.

“He told them a story. “Look at a fig tree. Any tree for that matter. When the leaves begin to show, one look tells you that summer is right around the corner. The same here—when you see these things happen, you know God’s kingdom is about here. Don’t brush this off: I’m not just saying this for some future generation, but for this one, too—these things will happen. Sky and earth will wear out; my words won’t wear out.” Luke‬ ‭21:29-33‬ ‭MSG‬‬

~ Baring His Beauty,

    Tiffany Thomas 

Beauty In The Suffering 



I used to wish that I could rewrite history

I used to dream that each mistake could be erased

Then I could just pretend

I never knew me back then
I used to pray that You would take this shame away

Hide all the evidence of who I’ve been

But it’s the memory of

The place You brought me from

That keeps me on my knees

And even though I’m free
Heal the wound but leave the scar

A reminder of how merciful You are

I am broken, torn apart

Take the pieces of this heart

And heal the wound but leave the scar
I have not lived a life that boasts of anything

I don’t take pride in what I bring

But I’ll build an altar with

The rubble that You’ve found me in

And every stone will sing

Of what You can redeem
Heal the wound but leave the scar

A reminder of how merciful You are

I am broken, torn apart

Take the pieces of this heart

And heal the wound but leave the scar
Don’t let me forget

Everything You’ve done for me

Don’t let me forget

The beauty in the suffering


Heal the wound but leave the scar

A reminder of how merciful You are

I am broken, torn apart

Take the pieces of this heart

And heal the wound but leave the scar

Heal The Wound by Point Of Grace 

A beautiful oldie that is such a wonderdul reminder that there is beauty in the suffering.  
          ~ XXOO Michelle Bollom 

Rejoicing In The Circumstance


As I sit in a hospital room, holding my precious grandbaby, my heart is aching. Watching my daughter’s heart breaking for her daughter has been wearisome. Nevertheless, my heart is faithful, and consumed in the hope for a complete recovery.

Looking down at Emery’s precious little face, at the peacefulness it displays, while sleeping, I am overwhelmed in gratitude to my Heavenly Father.

He has watched over her.
He sent angels to surround her.
He has kept her safely in His promise.

I find myself reflecting on the condition of my Heavenly Father’s heart at every step he took walking beside me.

Whenever I have felt alone, confused, scared, hurt, or couldn’t find sense to a situation…..He was still there. He watched over me. He kept His promises.

Life has a way of sending us reminders. It shows the gentleness of our God and the mercy he offers through the blessings he shares with us.

In every circumstance, He is there, even when it seems scary. He hears every prayer and sees every tear that falls. We may not understand every lesson that he teaches. But He certainly does. Each one pertains to the conclusion of His will.

Today, I find myself grateful that He chooses to walk on the same path with those who believe according to His plan. I am rejoicing that my granddaughter is going to be okay.

Rejoice always, pray continually, 

give thanks in all circumstances; 

for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16‭-‬18 NIV

~ Baring His Beauty

 Tiffany Thomas

Are You Willing To Drink From My Cup

  
I closed my eyes on the airplane ride home and put my head back to reflect on the past week activities. It had been a great week in hindsight. A group of us all together enjoying our beautiful surroundings and spending time with friends and family. 

I believe all of us came with the same expectation. We desired to learn and grow from each other’s knowledge and experience in the things of God. 

But mostly, we ALL wanted to hear a Word from God. I think we could agree that we were hoping to gain a better understanding of how we could walk closer to God and serve Him more passionately with all of our hearts. I think it’s amazing that we were in one accord. Each of us desiring to draw closer to God and each other. 

Well, as much as we hate the process of refining and reshaping. It is necessary to knock off the parts of us that stand in the way of us receiving more from God. We sometimes need to make room in our “thinkers” and take some things out of our heads to allow space for our “new” thoughts, ideas and beliefs. 

Most of the time we are not really aware that we have a problem until we are challenged in that area of thought. 

For example, It’s always been easy for me to step back and let others go ahead of me. Being last has always easy and okay with me. 

I loved to quote the verse in the Bible, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” So really, I knew by going last I really was being first. 

I was winning in the end!! 

But God has a way of squeezing us clean and clear of debris that stinks up our soul. 

Sometimes by using our closest friends and family to sharpen and challenge our motives and desires. He doesn’t do this to be mean or because He enjoys putting the pressure on His kids!!

It is necessary to prepare us for our future walk with Him and the plans He has set out for us. 

We say we want more of His thinking and less of our thinking. So the shifting has to begin somewhere and sometimes it gets messy and ugly!

If we want to walk in more authority and power and think how He thinks there has to be a surrender of our will to make way for His will. 

Back to my reflection of the week, I asked God why all these little interruptions among us all kept happening. They were like putting out one little fire after another. Most of them were handled silently and quickly. Others erupted with a big explosion and fiery darts of mad!

His answer to me was simple. 

He ever so softly whispered to my “thinker”. 
Are you willing to drink from my cup?”

I thought about how Jesus asked for the cup of suffering which He was about to partake of the cross. He was weak and wanted it to be passed on and not taken.
An angel strengthened Him and of course we know the rest of history. He took the cup of the cross so we could be set free and establish our broken relationship back to God. Sin was the fire that was extinguished out for good. Jesus made a way for us to be forgiven of our sins and seated with Him in Heavenly Places. 

Luke 22:41-43New International Version (NIV) 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened . 

God was gently asking me if I could look past myself and be willing to drink His cup. Actually, the same cup that set me free from the very things that were trying to creep in and take a hold of me. 

Offense

Bitterness

Anger

Pity

Was I willing to take that cup? Or did I want to keep thinking about how my feelings were hurt or not addressed properly by others. 

For a week I would keep asking what do you mean by that drinking cup phrase??

I didn’t hear much. 

Today, I decided to look in the Bible and see if that phrase is mentioned again. 
Of course I knew about about the cup and Jesus in Garden of Gethsemane. I found another place where the cup is brought to the attention of a mother. 

Okay bear with me, this is a bit long. I want you to see the whole picture of what is going on here. 
Matthew 20:20-28

20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. 

21 “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” 

22“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”“We can,” they answered. 

23Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” 

24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. 

25Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 

26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 

27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 

28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

A mother was requesting for her sons to sit on both sides of Jesus in the future Kingdom. She wanted affirmation from Jesus that her sons were very important to Him and His ministry. Jesus says the phrase,”Can you drink the cup, I am going to drink?”

Dang, there it was!! Clear as day hitting me smack dab right between my eyes!!

It doesn’t matter where you are seated. What matters is if you are willing to sit at the back or even outside and serve those in line in front of you. 

Your position is not based on where you are seated but where you standing. 
Are you standing on the promises that God will serve you as you serve others?

Are you standing on the promises that God will honor you as you honor others?

Are you standing on His Word for your identity? 

My worth has to come from God and not people or ministries. People and ministries will always disappoint us. God will not! Let’s get real! I have disappointed others. I need to extend that same grace to others that has been extended to me at times. 
Sometimes he uses our closest friends and family to remind us of these lessons. We all need each other even if it gets messy at times. 

Through it all I am learning  to be honest and communicate always in love with respect for one another. God will honor and elevate you in due time for drinking from that cup that isn’t always easy to swallow

The Cup of Suffering

In my case…….

I am to be like a serving dish or a cup for others to partake of the goodness and mercy of God. 

Drink on,

Kelley Allison

http://www.bowlofsplendor.com

In Secret Places 

  
We will partake in suffering that comes with the gift of living – even ones that seem kingdom centered will have trials of their own.

The lessons that come with every season is an opportunity for the reformation in our own heart. And the humbleness demonstrated on our knees, becomes the strength that we receive, as we follow through in the direction called out to us.

The vulnerability that is discovered, while in a relationship with our Father, is attributed from the direct path that unites the Creator and ourselves. The message that He gives out of the sacrifice of our pride is replaced with the wisdom that helps us uncover the areas we are depleted in.

When we unwrap the blinded areas of our heart, for the purpose of God’s glory, we find that it is not the struggle that defines the outcome of our path – it is not even the people that get in our way.

What defines the journey is the ultimate discovery of [self] by looking within and seeing God. It is the nourishment that comes with the breath of life [from our Father] as he speaks volumes into our heart. It is a story about love. It is the Father’s mercy and grace that is implanted in our heart, which allows us the ability to conceive the act to believe.

It is a gift to have faith in something far bigger than ourselves. The intention is not to get stuck, part way, in what we cannot see, instead believe in the complementary piece of the movement.

We are to be steadfast as we take in the breath of His Spirit. It is the same Spirit that goes to work on our behalf and by the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. It is the intertwining elements [of all three] that see us through until the end.

The components of nature do not determine our divine validity…. our Father does. Let us not lose sight of the goal ahead. He is counting on our resilience, the same resilience that Jesus lived, even when he knew how his life would end.

Let us draw our eyes above, focusing on the promises that have been cast down upon us. May we find faith in hope for what is planned ahead in the days, weeks, and months ahead. God already knows how it all ends. If he calls, let us have ears that hear, not weakness that easily becomes distracted. Let us be firmly planted in the soil of God’s garden. 

Lord, let it be as YOU said it would be.

Amen.

Baring His Beauty,

Tiffany Thomas 

Are you suffering?

Are you suffering right now?

Hold On!

Cling to this awesome Promise! Write it down, post it on your mirror and start to declare this Promise over your life and see how God begins to Restore Empower Strengthen & Establish you!
Be encouraged today! #LiveRestored
#RestoredMinistries
~ XXOO Michelle Bollom

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, the One who called you into His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself restore, empower, strengthen, and establish you. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭5‬:‭10‬ CEB)

Marvelous Light

 

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. ~ 1 Peter 2:9 ESV

I woke up yesterday and as soon as my eyes opened and I heard the phrase in my mind, “I have called you out of darkness and into My marvelous Light.”  I first thought, hmm that must be a song stuck on my mind.  All day the phrase stuck with me and kept coming up so I decided to do some searching.  I came across the scripture above.  I thought well that is a great promise and I will add that to my spiritual toolbox.  Then I remembered that I had a dream the night before about this boy that I don’t really know and his name kept coming up in my mind.  I was not sure if this was a prompt to pray for him or what, so I went to my Name book by Dorothy Astoria.  It lists over 10,000 names with their meanings, origins, and spiritual significance. (Spiritual Significance includes the Bible Verse or Life Verse  for each name.)  God likes to speak to me in my dreams by giving me names or faces of people I either know or don’t know and usually when I reference the book I get a great big ole God Promise that I have been needing as an answer to either a prayer request or situation or sometimes for someone else for encouragement.  So right before bed I decided to look up the name and WHAM… this was the verse.

I’ll help the blind walk, even on a road they do not know; I’ll guide them in directions they do not know. I’ll turn the dark places into light in front of them, and the rough places into level ground. These are the things I will do, and I won’t abandon them. ~ Isiah 42:16 ISV

BOOM! Right there God had given me a great big ole promise that confirmed the awakening phrase and Promise I had from 1 Peter 2:9…

So you might be thinking, what in the world does that mean and why it is so exciting that I had to blog about it… well let me back up and share what had happened just a few days before. ( It is long but worth it!)

I woke up Monday to immediately having a call from a dear friend and got news that she had lost her mother in law suddenly overnight.  I had just visited her mother in law 4 days prior.   I was grieved for my friend and her family over this loss.  I then was rushing to get my kids packed up for camp and my teenage son can sometimes really frustrate me and I just lost my cool.  I raised my voice, screamed at him, and yes, I am human; the flesh took over and I even dropped a few curse words.   Feeling horrible, I apologized and we headed out the door for lunch before drop off.  The lunch choice out of convenience and someone else’s opinion was not a good choice, lunch stunk…ok I actually said it SUXed, and I even joked with my kids that it was a big ole X for Sux because we are never making the mistake of eating there ever again. 

Sidenote: People close to me know that I am a foodie and I just can’t stand to have food remorse when getting bad food.  I know it is such a trivial problem when many are suffering greater tragedies… but it does bother me.  Most days I can shake it off, but today I didn’t.

 I dropped the kids off and ran a few errands.  Ok I ran around nonstop in search of things I needed and kept striking out.  That is rough when you live in a big city and with the traffic it turned into hours and hours of chasing down a few items, which I struck out on one, and then the one I did finally locate was more than I wanted to spend, but I had to have it, and then got home and it did not fit! It was too small, but by that time I was exhausted and just crammed the items in the too small bag and thought I would soon be calling it a day.   Nope, I had then had one issue after another.  I had 20 plus emails to respond to, a printer jam, a defective brand new ink cartridge, without a spare, a lost document that was very important that my CPA had to have, and all the while I got a friend request from a friend thinking they set up a new Facebook account only to find out they had been hacked and I was receiving message after message about some Pepsi Lotto I had won.  I had to block, remove and notify people of the hacker and was just about spent as my husband surprised me by getting home early.  As he walked in and asked me how my day was, I just lost it.  I said, I am overwhelmed and have had one issue after another, please give me a minute and I will be right in.  My husband is awesome.  He quietly leaves me and as I break down into a pity party sobbing and crying and telling God I just don’t know what to do, I feel overwhelmed, confused, what am I supposed to be doing, why is everything so hard… Blah Blah Blah…. You know the kind of moments.    I felt bad that my husband that never gets home early had surprised me so I dried my tears and went in to my husband and rehashed over my entire debacle of a day to him.  He just smiled and hugged me and said it would all be ok.  

I could not sleep that night.  I tossed and turned from midnight to 2 am.  I was so unsettled.  I got out of bed and my husband thought something was wrong.  I usually get like this when something big happens so it tends to put him on alert.  I just replied that I am somewhat unsettled so I am getting up to read and pray and hoping to calm down.

 Well, before I started to read I checked my phone and saw a Facebook message from a friend whose child is battling leukemia.  His wife shared a beautiful story how a stranger had approached them to give them hope after they had an 11 hour day full of chemo and hospitals and suffering and pain for their little guy.  They shared how the stranger was a survivor and cancer free now and he was able to show the little boy his scars from chemo ports and how his hair had grown back.   I immediately started to cry.  I was ashamed at how I fussed and fumed and cried over my crappy day and my day was nothing compared to the trials, tests, and sufferings they are experiencing and they could see that the stranger that brought them Hope in the midst of a really hard day was a blessing and I could recognize that it was God with skin on sent to them to comfort them and bring them Hope.   But yet I cried and sobbed to God about how hard my day was and wanted Him to send me someone with skin on to comfort and bring me hope and He had… Lots of things He tried to show me, but I could not see them…yet. 

 I saw several more people asking for prayer in the wee hour of the morning on Facebook.  I prayed for them all, and read God’s word for the next 4 hours.  I was shocked to find out that my husband’s alarm had gone off and he was fixing to leave for work and I had been praying and reading God’s promises for that long.  He seemed shocked too and convinced me to go rest so he got me settled back to bed and my alarm set since I had Bible Study that day and was hosting at my house.   I fell asleep for about an hour and then awoke and went about my day.  I felt at peace, I was tired, but encouraged.   I shared with a few of my girlfriends my frenzied day and night and some God lessons and verses I came across and the beautiful story of God sending the man to bring hope to my friends and their son.  We had an amazing study that day and I felt the day would be awesome.   The afternoon brought some obstacles that at first got me so worked up I started to have that breakdown feeling again, so I paused, unplugged and grabbed His word again.  I read chapter after chapter of His promises.  I felt the peace return and everything worked out and had a great night’s sleep that night. The next morning is when I awoke with the phrase in my head about being called out of darkness into Marvelous Light.  I felt like it was a turning point kind of day.  I had many plans for the day, but God quickly rearranged my day and had something else in mind.  I spent several hours on phone calls trying to get copies of the important document and even when the outcome was not in my favor I still did not lose peace or Joy.  I kept clinging to God’s Promises and knew God would work it all out.    The clouds were parting and I was seeing past my darkness. I started thinking about this quote I heard.  “If you put your light out there, you are going to attract some Big Bugs” ~ Clarice Fluitt.  I laughed and knew that God was using that quote and the verses on light to confirm that He has this and everything else I will face in His control.  I need to get my mind off the darkness whatever that is and look just straight on to His Light. Then I heard another quote by Clarice…..” Don’t weep like a heathen without Hope.”

God has a great sense of humor and I just love “Jehovah Trixter” when He uses someone to speak to my heart right at the core and tell me “Snap Outta It” (insert Cher accent there).   Light Bulb moment! Aha Moment, whatever you call it, I got it.

I had let stupid stuff upset me and was allowing the enemy to rule me.  I was weeping like a heathen without Hope and that was not who I was.  I have Christ, I have Hope.  I also knew that if the devil doesn’t use someone with skin on to attack you he will use your own mind.  That is exactly what had happened.  I had allowed fear and worry and the enemy to take over my mind.  I instantly thought of  this promise.

[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasoning’s and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One),~ 2 Corinthians 10:5 AMP

Here it is again in a simple translation….

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. ` 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV

And just to make sure that I got the point, God confirmed this promise to me, my dream person that night took me straight to the name book and that was the verse listed.

I know this verse by heart; it was a main tool in my toolbox at one time, so when did I misplace it and allow the enemy to wreak havoc with my mind again?  I know how powerful God’s Promises are and I know this stuff, I thought this seems silly but God was showing me what I needed. That I had allowed my petty circumstance to make me focus just on the darkness instead of His Light. Then I was brought back to the 2 promises that He showed me in 1 Peter and Isaiah and I knew I had got the lesson! I got the reference!  I had been given my Hope, My God with skin on moment……

He has called me out of darkness; I have been and seen a lot of darkness.  I have been in the trenches of deep depression, loss of loved ones, poor health, cheated death, chaos, and addictions.  I have been a heathen that sobbed without Hope before.  I am so grateful that He has not just called me, He has picked me up, restored me, and brought me into His Marvelous Light.  I am no heathen no more.  I have the Hope of Glory, I have Christ living inside me. I have the promise that when I am spiritually blinded by my flesh, He will help me walk.  Even on a road I do not know.  And there it is again… the promise that He will turn the dark places into places of light.  He will level out the rough places and He will Never abandon me.  What a glorious Promise! These Promise are for you too.  Run to the Light Peeps!   Not just any ole light, to His Marvelous Light.

Believe His Promises more deeply!  Hold your face up to the Light, even if in some moments you just can’t seem to see past your darkness.  Cling to His Promises. Refute those lies of the enemy by declaring the light of His promises over your darkness.   Light On`  XXOO~ Michelle Bollom