brilliant God and the garden 2 11-2015 devotional

Happy Thanksgiving!!!


into the woods devotional 11-2015 Traveling over the river and through the woods or staying close to home, give thanks for blessings large and small; with God we are never alone.

B Blessed!

Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! 1 Chronicles 16:8 NKJV

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34 NKJV

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  1 Corinthians 15:57 NKJV



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Just an observation…

Yesterday I took a walk to not only shake a few pounds but stimulate my brain. As I’m enjoying the fresh air, I am struck by the wide variety of trees and leaves and how beautiful they all are.

It then occurs to me, why can’t we appreciate people the same way? 

The woods I walk past are God planted, not man-made. The trees appear randomly placed. There are all kinds, shapes and colors. Some are evergreen magnolias, short scrub oaks, lanky pines and majestic maples. There are even more I can’t even name.

A few of them shed their leaves months ago. Others are in various states and transform daily. Some are unchanging yet provide the backdrop for the dynamic show.

I suspect God planted these different trees together for reason. Not that I will ever know what that is, but it certainly makes for a spectacular show.

We are just as diverse as the trees I walk past. We have various body shapes, skin colors, personalities, and backgrounds. Yet, God has placed us here to share this one earth.

What if the diversity among us is intended to make humanity better as a whole?

DSC_6650 (3)  Many of us attempt to “convert” others into what we believe is proper. We tend to hang around people who fit our mold. We gravitate toward people like us. Very rarely do most of us dare deliberately talk and mingle with people different from ourselves.

Often if we see someone who dresses unconventionally, acts a bit “odd” or lives a lifestyle we think is “crazy” we will superficially judge them and readily write them off.

I have seen creative or “artistic” people scoffed at and challenged to do something “practical” instead of nurturing the gifts God has given them.

I don’t know that we do them a favor by declaring their gifts aren’t valuable profitable. Is it truly a favor or a disservice when we can’t appreciate the talents of others and attempt to herd them into what we “think” they should be?

Not everyone is hardwired to become an accountant, a lawyer or whatever is deemed “practical” on any given day. I know many “professionals” who are miserable working outside of God’s plans for them.

What if the individual quirks that make each of us distinct are there to serve a purpose?

When we dismiss people different from ourselves we lose opportunities to learn and grow in the process.

It may mean you have to do something different or talk with someone unlike yourself to receive a blessing you don’t even know you need.

As I look around at all the various trees they remind me of the “different” people God placed in my life. They have been of various religions, nationalities, races, economic status, political affiliations and only God knows what else.

Many of them blessed me at some of the hardest times of my life. A few influenced my thinking. One in particular encouraged me to face my challenges head on. Still, others made my daily routine that much easier to bear.

With all of our differences we somehow managed to find more common ground that not.

Through each one of them, so very different from myself, I realize I’ve been blessed.

“Thus saith God, the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:” Isaiah 42:5 KJV

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Great and Grateful

Living down here in the “Bible Belt”  I read many a church sign. Some of them are witty and others are down right weird. I did come across one that I did like. It read  “A GRATEFUL MIND IS A GREAT MIND.”

As I reflected on that particular sign I thought about my various “states of mind” on any given day. Some days I am focused. On other’s not so much. On occasion I can keep a very clear train of thought and accomplish much in record time. Then there are days I’m left looking around having nothing substantial to show for my efforts.

However, when I focus on counting my blessings, I gain clarity that at other times alludes me. When I am grateful it puts into perspective all the minor and petty things that don’t really matter. Annoyances, headaches and temporary trials don’t compare to God’s great grace, mercy and favor.

If I did not continually count my blessings, I would get bogged down in the nonsense of the day, other people’s drama and become mired down in things that aren’t any of my business!

I must renew my mind daily as not to magnify my problems instead of magnifying God!

DSC_6261 (2)  We are implored by Romans 12:2  “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” 

When we continually embrace how good God is to us, we are compelled to offer mercy, compassion and kindness toward others. The realization that we are not worthy but He loves us anyway should move us to love our neighbor/brother and not just pray for them but actually do for them.

Allowing our gratitude to move us into action  produces great deeds and great love, the kind Jesus would have us show toward one another.

In this season of thanks don’t merely settle for being grateful, allow your gratitude to move you to do something for someone else. What you may consider a small gesture can often make a world of difference for someone else!

Allow your gratitude to adjust your attitude!

Be grateful and B Blessed!  

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV

“Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! 1 Chronicles 16:8 NKJV

autumn light blessed devotional 2016


I live in the Atlanta area, kind of smack in the middle of the “Bible belt.” This long standing nickname would lead most to believe that Christianity is the most prevalent religion in these parts. It’s not.

The most prevalent religion around here is football.

I rarely see Christians rally together or cheer on one another the way sports fans do. Tailgating is the praise and worship that sets the mood for the sermon game. Season tickets sell no matter the cost. The pews may be sparsely occupied on Sunday but that stadium will be packed!

I can’t say that I’m a die hard fan by any means except for my alma mater (Go Rattlers!) but football occupies a more prominent place in the lives of many far above the basic precepts of love God and love your neighbor.

Yet, I don’t think I have ever seen anything break down barriers between people the way football can. Race, nationality, sexual orientation, religious affiliation and politics become irrelevant as long as you are for the home team. People who wouldn’t speak to one another at any other time will embrace, high five and cheer together.

We “Christians” might just learn a thing or two from these die hard fanatics. 

I rarely see such levels of commitment and devotion for the church like I see for sports. Football season is priority for many.

How often do we “religious folk” schedule activities around God instead of squeezing God into a packed schedule?

Am I bashing football? Most definitely not!

UNEXPECTED GIFTS BLESSED DEVOTIONAL  Athletics provide an opportunity for many people to improve their circumstances. Football also teaches how to win and how to accept defeat. It instills the importance of working together for a common cause. Football builds solidarity among individuals. I would just love to see these same attributes displayed prominently in the church.

What if “Christians” shared this same type enthusiasm for people?

God’s people.

I’m talking about the people we glance over or would rather not deal with. I’m talking about those who are broken and when we ask how they are, we don’t want to hear their truth.

It is our commandment to love them.

I’d love to see Christians help those who are hurting as quickly as we would purchase tickets to enjoy the game.

I’m sure on any given weekend millions are cheering for their team. What about encouraging the addict or the mentally ill?

What if we chose to commit to something that lasts longer than the season?  

What if for just one weekend, we offered our time and money for a charitable cause. Even assisting a neighbor, friend or family member will do.

These efforts, unlike those for the game, leave a lasting impression and demonstrate God’s love. God uses us to do His work.

Every sports team strives to build a legacy. Shouldn’t we want to do the same for God? And not grudgingly, but with that same enthusiasm we show the home team?

Just a few random thoughts today.

I’m off to watch the game.

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Work It!

Originally posted on God and The Garden:

Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established.
Proverbs 16:3 NKJV

Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.
Proverbs 22:9 NKJV

Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.
Ephesians 4:21 NKJV

work it God and the Garden devotional 10-2015  Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.
Thessalonians 2:16-17 NKJV

If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things…

View original 26 more words

autumn leaves devotional 10-2015

Good Eats!

Apples and pears have never been my favorites. I eat them because they are good for me. They are hardly as sweet as my summertime berries, yet they fill me up and keep those hunger pains at bay. Fall fruits also last longer, aren’t nearly as fragile and help scrape out the yuck in our gut!

There comes a time to push aside those sweet things that are tasty for those heartier things that will sustain.

I love devotionals and encouraging words but we must diligently seek God and study His Word. We need all of it and not just those verses we pick and choose. It is comforting to know better days lie ahead but we must prepare as best we can to stand strong against dark days and disappointments as well.

DSC_2709 (2)  Spiritual fruit takes time to grow and develop. Many people are led to Christ in a moment. Yet, it often takes years to transform us from who we are into who we can become.

Love, joy and peace are sweet fruits for me.

Long suffering?  Not so tasty.

Faithfulness and gentleness require a bit more from me as well.  It is often our trying experiences that cultivate the characteristics we lack and allow us to produce good fruit.

If we are to mature and fulfill our purpose, we must partake of some things that aren’t so sweet.

Forgiveness. Obedience. Submission.

We grow when we choose to partake of things that are good for us and not merely those things that taste good.

What are you hungry for?

“For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil,” Hebrews 5:13-14 NKJV

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV

first fall blessed devotional 9-2015

Turning Points…

We all have times in our lives when we can look back and reflect on events or places where our lives took a turn in a singular direction. For some people this turning point is a positive. Perhaps a birth, a marriage or a graduation. For others, pivotal moments are directly related to a person who was influential in good choices made such as coach, a teacher or even a spouse.

Then there are other turning points that seemingly crush us under their weight.

Death. Failed relationships. Financial difficulties.

Our experiences, whatever they are, help mold us into the people we become. Hopefully, we learn to appreciate the good, endure the bad and gain wisdom from the lessons life has to offer.

Thankfully, we aren’t relegated to circumstances dictating our destination. Our experiences do indeed impact the people we become, but they don’t have to define us.

blsd lvs abg God allows us to decide if the experiences we are forced to endure will build us up or tear us down.

Our lives have many paths that lead to the same destination. Sometimes we take the scenic route.  At others, there are painful detours.  A few people actually do reach their goals with a straight sprint from point A to Z.

Yet, most of us are more likely to walk and even crawl along our way. The fact that we keep moving is all that really counts.

I am reminded, as we transition from one season to another, to allow my turning points to turn me in the right direction.

Sometimes we need to turn away from people, places and even our own negative thoughts. At others, we may need to turn toward God when we find ourselves lost, disoriented and lacking the direction we need to fulfill our purpose.

Take some time to look back on the good and give thanks. Reflect on the negatives and know that they too can serve a purpose.

Make the choice to reassess who you are and what you choose to do.

Turning Point b is for blessed devotional 10-2015 The change you seek begins with you.

If you’ve made mistakes along the way that’s fine too. Simply acknowledge them and learn from them. It is often the worst of times that eventually allow us to receive God’s very best.

It is faith that enables us to turn away from what was and look toward what can be. Turn toward the Light.

For He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit.  Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. 1 Peter 3:10-11 NKJV