Peace and Joy!

 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” John 14:27 NKJV

Jesus came so that we may have peace here on this earth. It is amazing how quickly we are willing to give it up. Circumstances, people and our day-to-day lives will rob us of both peace and joy if we allow it. Peace and joy are two of the most valuable things any person can posses, yet so carelessly we allow others to rob us of them both.
Christ’s work on this earth is finished, yet we often run around as if all is lost and it is the end of the world if we don’t or can’t accomplish our  “to do” list. We rob ourselves of peace and joy by letting other people, obligations and our own shortcomings overshadow what Christ has already done for us.
The key to keeping peace and joy (longer that the fifteen minutes after church service) lies in the ability to tune out distractions. Our society is so plugged in that there is little quiet time allowed to be still and reflect. You have to fight for the time to spend with yourself and God that will allow you to truly have “a peace that passes understanding.”
We spend so much time working for things in life that don’t really matter that if only we put those efforts into keeping what has already been freely given to us, we could we truly enjoy the fullness of God’s love for us.  Joy is different from happiness. Happiness is based on circumstances and your reaction to your environment. Joy, however, comes from within and allows for true contentment no matter what is going on around you. Joy can only be given from God. Happiness is transient. True joy is long-lasting and not easily shaken. Allow your spirit to rejoice in the Lord, overriding what you see and feel because you are, instead, moved inwardly by what you know…. God is good, He loves you, everything else is secondary!
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning,” Psalm 30:5. No matter what you may be facing, it is possible to receive God’s joy. Christ was able to endure the crucifixion because He was aware of the joy that lay beyond the experience. We were crucified with Christ so God will do no less for us!
Receive the peace and joy God has for you. The price has already been paid. There is nothing you could ever purchase or acquire that will bring you as much satisfaction or contentment. All you have to do is believe and receive and the enduring love, peace, and joy of God is available to you, nonstop and never-ending.

P is for Praise!

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoice; and with my song will I praise Him,” Psalms 28:7 KJV 

“Praise” is mentioned roughly 200 times In the KJV Bible. The book of Psalms is full of songs that praise our God. This emphasis on “praise” should show us just how powerful  it is.  David wrote song after song about the greatness of God. His heart was filled with praise for the Father. Even after committing murder God’s love for David did not falter.

Could it be David’s continual praise made all the difference?    1 PRPL BLM

Praise was taken very seriously. There was praise before battle. There was praise after the battle was won. How much more could we find ourselves in God’s presence if we would intentionally praise Him beyond the church walls?

Praise is a mirror image of prayer. Our prayers tend to focus on us and our needs. Our praise glorifies the goodness of God!  

Praise is the “thank you” we give God for each new day. Praise is the song that acknowledges that yes, God, I know it was you that pulled me through difficult times. Praise is worship. Praise is the product of allowing the Holy Spirit to manifest inwardly within us and we in turn manifest outwardly the joy and peace that He brings.

Praise paves the way for progress. Praise is the power that pushes us through situations instead of keeping us stuck in them. Praise speaks to God our Father and reflects our love for Him. Praise speaks to our own spirit and is an outpouring of His love for us.

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Never minimize the power of Praise. It can open doors that have been shut for years. Praise can produce results you could never make happen!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” Proverbs 18:21. What kind of life do you want to live?    

Don’t blame.  Praise instead!  Blame never produced one good thing. It is a negative reflection on a past you cannot change.  However, praise uses your voice to push you into position to overcome past failures and open up to new opportunities. Praise takes the emphasis off of ourselves and magnifies our Father with Whom all things are possible!

Praise God because of His goodness. Praise Him for who He is. Praise God for what has done for you!

Replace your complaints with praise and see what a difference it makes in your life. Praise is the fuel that allows you to fly high with faith. Allow your praise to take you to levels you would never dared believe you could achieve.

Praise God in all things!

P is for Praise!

BLSD BTFLY 5  “I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness; and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.” Psalms 7:17 KJV

“Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein.” Psalms 69:34 KJV  

Sun or Shade?

Any gardener’s dilemma often includes where to put a favorite plant. You may have a favorite specimen but not necessarily the ideal place within your planting space that is suitable for that species. I have always been fond of caladiums which are pink, green and red elephant ear like plants that I grew up with as a child. These plants traditionally thrive in shady environments.

When I began my gardening endeavors, I planted about thirty or so bulbs so excited when they finally emerged from the ground. However, my yard had full sun exposure for most of the day. What happened to my plants? The sun fried them to a crisp! Not only was the money spent on them gone to no avail but my labor had been in vain. I wasn’t wise enough to make sure I put those plants in an area suitable for their sustained growth.

Like the caladiums, we too, are flowers in God’s great garden. But fortunately for us, we are given everything we need to bloom where we are  no matter where we find ourselves. If Paul can write a major part of the New Testament from prison, can’t we surely magnify God’s love and His characteristics in our daily lives?

Shade plants will fry in the sun. Sun loving plants will turn yellow in the shade. But God has equipped us with everything we need to bloom right where we are. We don’t have to wait until we are re-potted or moved to a more desirable site before we can exhibit the qualities God would have us to.

If you are in a “hot” situation, act like a cactus. Have your own internal supply of sustenance (God’s Word) to carry you through hot and stressful situations. You can’t expect God to trust you with greater responsibilities if you are failing to do an excellent job with what you have already been given. Look for the best in your situation and magnify God’s goodness in that situation.  Don’t complain, change! Changing your mind and attitude where you are surely prepares the way for where you are going.

If you are a “sunny” person forced into a shady situation, ask God to help you get through moment by moment if you have to. Allow God’s light in you to illuminate the dark places and people who may be around you. Allow the Son to shine through you. We shouldn’t be seeking God to remove us from one situation into another if we can’t illuminate His love where we are, be good stewards of what we have, and display an attitude of gratitude for what He has already done.

Back to the caladiums. Last year I was browsing in the local hardware store and what did I come across? A newer hybrid of plant…sun tolerant caladiums! Too good to be true I was sure but I purchased them anyway. I placed my new beauties carefully in pots where they received direct sunlight for most of the day. To my amazement the plants thrived even in record heat upwards of 106 degrees! God can develop us to survive any environment just as someone developed caladiums that can now tolerate the sun.

With God’s hand we aren’t relegated to the sun or shade. He has enabled us to thrive when we are willing to make peace with where we are at present. Speak peace and love. Give generously, laugh loudly and be a good steward of what you have while anticipating God’s goodness for what you want. This is how we bloom.

God has equipped each of us to bloom wherever we are so we can meet those goals and dreams that He has placed deep within us. It is simply up to us to remember that we can be stable and able no matter where we are.

Sun or shade? Thankfully, we don’t have to choose.


“I am the true vine and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit,” John 15:1-2 NKJV

Jesus’ teaching about the vine and the branches is one of the most readily quoted. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15: 5 NKJV

Without Him we can do nothing. However, the scripture prior to that, John 15:2 is often skimmed over. It is easy to realize how dependent we are on Christ, yet most of us are remiss and become ill at the notion that to become fruitful we must be pruned.

Without pruning, even the best specimens in any garden will eventually lose the ability to bear fruit. At the very least, the output will greatly diminish. The limbs will become weak and unable to support what little fruit that is produced. Comparatively, the same tree that has been pruned will be shorter but stronger. 

Trees and shrubs that have been freshly pruned usually look awful. Where I live Crepe Myrtles trees are blooming now. However, for them to bloom to the fullest, dead limbs are cut away in winter. The trees look so bad after their winter pruning the process is jokingly called “Crepe Murder.

We often look bad and feel bad when our Father takes to pruning us as well. Sometimes it may be a stray branch here or there that is removed. But then there are times in our lives when we may feel like we’ve been taken all the way down to the roots!

Pruning is painful.

We may even feel like we’re dying all the while God is preparing us to produce more! We don’t often see it at the time or understand. We can feel bad and look worse.  Yet, Jesus promises that every branch that does bear fruit God prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 

Sometimes the removal of things in our lives, though devastating at the moment, eventually make us stronger. Sometimes there is a reason so-called “friends” leave. It may be a job. Or even a relationship.

God cuts off what is not good for us. God often removes those things or people we would in no way leave on our own.

We can have faith knowing that He is our life source and through Him we will be fine no matter how deep the cut. Our progression in life requires some pruning.  Thankfully, the potential fruit is well worth the temporary pain.

The next time you experience a hardship, disappointment or painful experience; don’t assume it is an attack from the enemy. It might be time for God’s hand on you.

It may just be time for you to produce more fruit than you thought possible!

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” John 15:7-8 NKJV

B is for Bent not Broken


Everyone in life is guaranteed some form of hardship, storm or distress/duress that is necessary to forge us into the people God would have us to be. Though not pleasurable experiences, our problems are necessary for our promotion from one stage in life to another. The way we deal with these experiences really determines how we will come out of them. Some people seem to make it through, scraped up a bit but they come out in one piece. Others, instead, succumb to situations and trials never to come out and are overcome and swallowed up by their circumstances. So what is the difference between making it through a bad situation and getting stuck in a particular circumstance? The answer is simple.

Bent not broken.

We all at some point have the best laid plans. However, the plans for our life and God’s plans are not necessarily one and the same. Our expectations don’t always transform into our experiences. Delays and disappointments are inevitable. The people who make it through hardships aren’t broken by life’s surprises. Instead, they learn to bend.

Twigs snap. A quick and sudden stress causes them to break in two. People can also snap. It is when experiences become so extreme, circumstances are crazy and expectations unmet that some people “loose it” and do things they normally would not do if they were in their “right mind.”

The propensity to bend means that you can weather the storm. You can change course with whatever life throws your way. It may be uncomfortable, hard and even painful but bending means you won’t instead be broken by whatever circumstances come against you. Your attitude will decide your outcome when you bend. Being inflexible in your relationships with other people and even your own preconceived ideas only limits you and sets you up to “snap.” We should always be changing and bending to some extent. Learning, maturing, and submitting to God requires flexibility on our part.

Hardening your heart against God’s Word and an unwillingness to listen to others can leave you frail, rigid and easily broken. An unwillingness to bend will leave you frustrated and at odds with an ever-changing  world. Flexibility doesn’t dictate that you compromise to conform to the world. Flexibility allows you to move with God in this world.

If you want some peace of mind, be willing to change it when Divinely directed. If you wish to prosper, set goals but be willing to bend when God dictates you change your plans. You can’t truly prosper out of the will of God. What worked yesterday won’t necessarily work today. Someone else’s plan isn’t necessarily the plan for you. Listen when God speaks and then act accordingly.

If you are unwilling to change your plans when God directs something to the contrary, not only will you live a very frustrated and miserable existence, you will only set yourself up for headache, heartache and continual disappointment. You can strive against the world and all of its storms or you can abide in God staying flexible with the prodding of the Holy Spirit.

Snap in the storm or move with God? Bend or Break? The choice is yours to make!


Though much of the country is still enjoying the long lazy days of summer, around here in the metro Atlanta area the sounds of children playing are being replaced with the roar of school buses once again making their rounds. This prompts an accelerated anticipation of Autumn as football schedules, after school practices and all those things academic in nature once again begin in full force. My cat, Lucky, can once more enjoy the solitude of silence as my two teenagers no longer run amuck in the lost freedom of summer vacation.

As one season blends into another, I do ponder where the time went and wonder how much time I have left if I am going to make those distant New Year’s Resolutions bear any fruit. As we head quickly into the last quarter of the year, some things I have managed to fulfill however there are others still awaiting my attention. A few pounds have been shed, though not nearly as many as should be gone by now. I have become more technologically competent as I type this blog, something I never imagined I’d be able to pull off a few years ago, even as I only a few weeks ago solicited my Facebook Family for help in the wee hours of the morning during a technological meltdown! I’ve had some successes and still I await a major shift in my circumstances that I’ve prayed for. I am hopeful that despite my deficiencies, God is more than able and willing to get me where I need to go. Even if I can’t see a who, when, what or how.

Patience is a virtue. This season will come and go once more and it is up to each of us to take what time is left and make 2013 what it should be. If you’ve been beaten up over these last seven months or so, don’t give up and give in. God has repeatedly and faithfully show that He is “on time,” if not on “our time.” Some of us anxiously look forward to cooler temperatures and all the fun-filled festivities of Fall. Others await nervously in circumstances that are dire and leave them to reflect on how this year was supposed to be better than the last even though they have yet to see it.

I can only suggest to anyone at this time of change who needs a Word to hold on to, Romans 12: 10-14 “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”

I certainly have no idea what your goals are for 2013 but I can confidently declare the above verses will help you get where you want to go! If you are feeling that you haven’t accomplished what you hoped to do, fret not! Spring blooms may have faded and summer fruit wanes, however  another season of harvest is sure to come. Look with anticipation toward the fall. Those things we are not able to see at this time are still growing and maturing all around us. Dare to survive the dog days of summer and look forward to cooling breezes with expectation and promise for the future. For everything there is a season…who says the best in 2013 is not yet to come!


A New Season

Summertime hasn’t officially begun, yet I’m taking advantage in this change of gears to jump-start a few resolutions I seemed to have left back in January. The best of intentions has not produced the results I’ve been waiting for. June first is officially the beginning of the second part of this year. It is a chance for all of us to make conscience decisions to finish those projects and achieve those goals we were so determined to achieve at the beginning of this year.

I started the year off strong and then kind of let go the tenacity with which I was pursuing a few goals. Thankfully, all is lot lost. God provides us all with opportunities for second, third and even endless chances to accomplish our goals. Sometime’s my timing isn’t God’s timing and for all my enthusiasm, it just simply is not time for certain dreams to be had. That said, pursue those dreams and aspirations as if you have time left to do so because there is always more than one road that leads to a desired destination.

God’s grace is sufficient for all our detours and delays. Our mistakes and missteps are no match for God’s provision, seen and unseen that can ultimately get us where we need to go. With a bit of prayer and persistence we can make up for seemingly lost time and past opportunities that went the way of cooler temperatures. As I look forward to longer days and summer nights I thank God for opportunities I can’t yet imagine, finally trading those stubborn pounds for summer shorts, and a change from shorter days to lazy late nights, all while resetting my personal agenda of what I hope to accomplish and believing in what God can do. Once again filled with optimisim I look forward to acheiving my goals on yet this latest attempt!

I readily leave back in the cold of winter the dull thoughts and doubts that did not propel me forward. Instead I look up to twinkling stars, make a wish, say a prayer and prepare for the sun or rather the Son to  shine on me and move me along the path God intended all along

If you have a few things left on your “to do” list get started. I’ve you have at least started, make a firm commitment to finish.  Don’t ponder what you have failed to do, instead think about what God can do!  A new season provides opportunity for a new harvest.  Nurture any ideas you’ve “planted.” Don’t allow a few “weeds” to distract you from your desired results.  Pray and Persist!  With God’s grace and a bit of effort on our part we will  ultimately get  where we need to go.

Patiently waiting…

As most of the country transitions from spring to summer, I find myself at a crossroad of sorts. Here in the south, anxious gardeners such as myself anticipated the arrival of spring with visions of potential plantings and tidy gardens that promised a bounty of blooms. Frosty temperatures are given a not so found farewell so that we of the gardening variety can  once again “play in the dirt.” Flowers and veggies are tenderly planted, the arrival of dependable blooms such as dogwoods and roses anticipated to brighten not only the landscape but our dispositions as well. The cold damp gray of winter thankfully leaves us as our moods hopefully reflect sunnier skies.

However, after all the annuals had been set in pots, hydrangea blooms  finally dotting my landscape and tomato plants safely in the ground with no threat of freeze, I found there was nothing I had to actually “do” to make my garden grow. Everything I could do for my garden had been done. All that was left was to sit back, enjoy the scenery and wait. With the planting done and the rains come, I was powerless to do anything else that would actually hasten the arrival of homegrown veggies to my plate.

I then realized my garden mirrored efforts taken toward my professional endeavors.  The proper contacts have been made, the work done and now I can only wait for my desired result to come to pass. Oftentimes, we are SO busy in our daily lives that we forget how to be still! We often run around with obligations and responsibilities as well as trying to bring our dreams to fruition that when the time comes that we can do nothing more but “wait on the Lord,” we often find ourselves lost.

Our society is ever pushing faster tech, instantaneous information and a multitude of data is available to us at any given time. However, God’s timing has not seemed to followed that trend, at least in my own circumstances, and I must wait patiently and with a good attitude for God to do what I can not. Just as I can plant my flowers, I can’t really make them grow.  Only God has the power to do that. When we have done all that we can to meet a particular goal, sometimes all we have left is to wait.

I used to pray for patience. I don’t do that anymore as I feel God now gives me PLENTY of opportunities to practice that particular virtue. I have had to rediscover how to wait on the Lord just as the Israelites had to again and again rely on the Lord’s provision and miracles as they journeyed forty years to their Promised Land. I have had to re-learn how to sit and be still in one area of my life as I continue to work diligently on other areas. It has finally set in my sometimes thick skull that being busy doesn’t necessarily equate with being productive.

My tomatoes will grow in the coming months just as other areas of my life await their proper season to bear great fruit. Where once I would have fretted over the time it takes for their maturity, I have wisdom enough to finally sit back with a glass of lemonade on a warm day and allow the Son/Sun to shine on me as I enjoy the scenery… while I wait.

“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord,” Psalm 27:14

Is there anything in your life you should be waiting on instead of working on?