P is for Perspective

“Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together.” Psalms 34:3

perspective a) a specific point of view in understanding things or events b) the ability to see things in a true relationship, Webster’s Dictionary


The majority of angst, agitation, aggravation, frustration, anxiety, depression and disappointment we Christians face is not necessarily due to “enemy attack.” The mental chaos we often experience stems from failing to view things in the proper perspective.

Psalms instructs us that we are to magnify the Lord. In reality, Christians who ought to know better magnify the Lord typically at church services yet throughout the week, as challenges arise, we focus on and magnify our problems instead. We often do not focus on appreciating how great our God is and His omnipotent power. Rather we talk about (repeatedly) our problems, struggles and aggravations. If we would focus this same effort on speaking about the greatness of God we would realize how inconsequential our “problems” are in comparison. We talk about the things that are problematic sometimes to no end. What better result could we achieve in overcoming these matters if we would speak of the greatness of God?

Life and death are the power of the tongue. That is why it is important to speak of God’s goodness and greatness. This “action” of faith puts things in the proper perspective. This sets the stage for blessings and breakthrough. Your praise of the Lord acknowledges that you realize that God is in control, God is larger than your problems and you have faith that whatever you can’t do to resolve an issue He most certainly can do!  Promotion is in your praise. Progress is in your praise. Productivity is in your praise!

When we don’t magnify God and continually moan, gripe and complain about a negative situation the only thing we do is make our problems larger in our mind’s eye. Our words can distort our vision to where we, indeed, make mountains out of mole hills. We find faults where there are none and create major issues where only minor situations exist. This misconstrued vision is akin to viewing things in a carnival fun house of mirrors. What we see is distorted and warped, not at all what actually exist.

Magnifying God with our mouth maintains a spiritual and mental balance. We can then see things as they are and not make circumstances larger than they are. Perspective is vital to keeping it together. There is a common saying “don’t sweat the small stuff.”  Magnifying God makes us see what really is small and not worth the angst and effort we give it.

Lastly, it is important to realize God’s perspective is not at all our perspective. The things that seem immovable as obstacles and problems that seem to have no solution are microscopic to the Creator of the universe. God cares for us so much that He can see the big picture and allow us to remain in situations we think would kill us because He can see the end that we cannot.  He sees the solutions from up high that we can’t see from our lowly perspective. It is like flying in an airplane. From 20,000 feet in the air you can see entire cities, counties and even some states. But when you are on the ground you can see maybe a couple of miles into the distance. The only thing that has changed is not the landscape but the perspective from which you view it. From high in the clouds huge things look microscopic (God’s eye). On the ground, the same things viewed from the plane as dots on the landscape appear large and looming.  The area may be the same but what you are able to see from where you are makes all the difference. Perspective is key.

The right perspective keeps you from making poor decisions. The right perspective can keep you from stressing and allow you to enjoy your blessing. The right perspective promotes peace and invites the presence of God.

P is for perspective. Keeping things in proper perspective promotes progress and productivity. The proper perspective lays the foundation for peace and serenity.

Father God, allow me to truly see things not as they appear but from Your perspective. May I magnify You and minimize my trials. May I voice our praise! Remove from me a tongue of death. I choose life and I choose to see things as You would have me to view them. Thank you for these things and for a new “vision” in Jesus’ name, Amen.


Root Rot

Root rot is the bane of many a gardener who lovingly tends to plants and flowers only to find that what was once bold and beautiful is now slumped over and at death’s door.

Root rot often occurs when plants are placed in conditions or soil that doesn’t facilitate the growth or functionality of the root system. Often the ground is saturated with water or pollutants due to poor drainage or the earth is too dense due to lack of aeration. In conditions such as these, the roots are not able to absorb the good qualities from the earth necessary for the growth of the plant.

Not obvious like pests or diseases above the ground, this predicament can lead to an unexpected demise as the damage is done below the surface. Everything looks fine above ground but the root system of plant is quickly deteriorating in a damaging environment. The pathway of nourishment and sustainment is no longer working.  Unfortunately, we can find ourselves in similar circumstances with that same deadly potential.

Like plants, we often are unsuspecting of the dangers that may exist in our environment and their pollutant potential. We can find our own personal roots in less than ideal circumstances if we aren’t careful. Instead of growing downward and outward our roots can also become poisoned, absorbing all the wrong things that eventually get deep inside of us.

Sometimes we inadvertently place ourselves in the wrong environments that can also cause our demise or at the very least stunt our personal growth. Have you ever been in a situation or place that you really knew you should not be in? Have you felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit pulling at you when you are in the company of people who may not share your same values and prompt you to do things you know are immoral or at the very least are of no benefit to you?

Sometimes we allow comfortable situations and familiar friends to allow us to stay in a place we know we should be far removed from. How many people are often thwarted in achieving their goals because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? Many of those same people will often admit they knew they should not have gone to that specific place or hung out with that particular person but didn’t allow the conviction felt on the inside to translate to action to do something about it.

Have you ever been in the company of people speaking in such a manner you didn’t particularly care for or found offensive yet you continued to stay there? Have you ever gone to an event or party that turned out to be something other than what you expected but you continued to stay because you didn’t want to be rude? Have you ever gone someplace and felt uneasiness come about you but you remained in that place all the while knowing it was not the best use of your time?

Just like plants that unknowingly absorb things from their environment that prove deadly, we can also absorb tendencies, habits and associations to our own detriment. The opportunity to absorb the worst tendencies from our environment will often increase when we are trying to be obedient and make significant changes in our lives.

When you are trying not to drink alcoholic beverages friends may prompt you to celebrate with them and cannot understand your newfound non-alcoholic tendencies. If you are trying to save money, friends or family may urge you to splurge because you “deserve it.” Sometimes when you are convicted about your speech you will find yourself inadvertently surrounded by people who are full of gossip and pressing you for your comments and opinion. So, what can you do?

The only treatment for a plant that is suffering from root rot is to transplant it into another environment conducive its growth. The same is true for us as well. If you are trying to make a significant change and grow but you cannot seem to bring it about in your present circumstances you may need to get your own roots in a better environment.

If you need a positive attitude, hang out with positive people. If you don’t know any, meet some. Don’t go to the same places with the same people if they are adding little to your growth. We often need people who are doing positive things in front of us to set an example to aspire to. We also benefit from spending time around the people who serve as role models as they can help pull us up out of our weaknesses and show us examples of how they achieved whatever desirable traits we find compelling in them.

If you are going through a difficult time, the last thing you need is someone else telling you how the same circumstance almost killed them! If someone is declaring that there no hope for you, remove yourself immediately!

Instead, seek the company of encouraging people who will share their tests and give a testimony of what you, too, can do! We are to encourage one another. If you are surrounded by doom and gloom from naysayers, you may find that you absorb their same pessimistic attitudes. In their presence, your faith may wane and their hopelessness will devour any hopeful expectations you have for a change in your circumstances!

Oftentimes God, in His care of us, will transplant us out of certain situations. But as we mature, we should become aware of those places and people who are harmful to us and actively transplant ourselves out of toxic situations and company.

If you want to become more spiritual, spend more time with spiritually minded people. I’m not talking about people who are always talking and quoting scripture but instead people who are consistently walking it out!  Many of the most positive people don’t have to say a word. They let their actions speak for them. The most beneficial people do not have to convince you of why you should spend time with them. Instead, the God in them will reach out to the God in you!

Be careful of the places you go and the people you know.  Benjamin Franklin’s quotation has proven itself through the years. “Be civil to all, sociable with many, familiar with few.” Unfortunately, lots of Christians turn that particular quote completely upside down. Many are civil to few and familiar with far more people than they ought!

Oftentimes people can get bedazzled by the status of others, their titles and sometimes the glitz and glamour on the outside of a person that they can’t see the person for who they really are.

Familiarity should lend itself to family. Don’t treat just any and everybody like family when you know very little about that person and what they are truly all about. Don’t rush to bring people you barely know into your innermost circle. You do not need to readily expose yourself to other people’s vulnerabilities. The last thing you need is to absorb the drama of someone else when you are making sincere efforts to get your own self straight.

Jesus was kind to all and served those that came to Him seeking help, however, He “hung out” with just His inner circle of disciples, the men closest to Him. He didn’t have hundreds of friends He was trying keep with Him all the time! He wasn’t trying to accumulate the most “friends” possible to have in His immediate circle. Many called themselves His disciples at first until they were in His presence and found they did not know him or really understand Him. In fact, Jesus’ teachings left many confounded and the mass majority of His disciples readily fell off and away leaving Him with His faithful few! It was these few men who would later spread the Gospel. We also need only the people in our own lives that are positive, sincere, and support our own efforts.

Familial bonds are strong and created over time. Yet there may be divine connections you make that are God driven and you know God put a particular person in your life. The point is to make sure you give your time and effort to people worthy of it. It should be time well spent for all parties.

Don’t allow fear of disappointing people to keep you complacent when you know you should be changing your circumstances. If you are convicted to move, do so. God will make sure He sustains you where you should be planted. Don’t ignore the prompting that tells you to leave a conversation or that a new acquaintance may not be all he or she appears to be. Many a trial or tribulation could have been averted had a person simply followed their gut instinct or rather “God instinct” and left certain people and places alone.

All flowers need a specific combination of minerals, moisture, soil and nutrients to grow. We also need our specific combination of Holy Spirit, discernment, obedience and willingness to change so that we too can grow. Don’t waste time with the wrong people and places that will only poison you when you absorb what they are putting out. Negativity? Drama? Envy? Spite? Confusion?

Make an active decision to go where you can grow! It may be a bit uncomfortable. People may wonder what you are doing. But don’t second guess your decisions to move where you can absorb something good in your life.

Move where you are free to soak up more of God, His grace, and His goodness. If you lose a few people you thought were friends through acting on your conviction, God can give you new and better friends! The very people you may be fearful of losing may be actually blocking the blessings God intends for you.

Oftentimes we are aware that we are in a less than ideal situation but feel that we can handle it. We are often confident that the God in us will leave us unaffected by our environment. That may indeed be true for the most mature Christians but more often than not, those who think they are unaffected later find out they have been infected!

Complacency can often breed the kind of comfort that allows you to let your guard down because you are familiar with certain people and places and the danger is unseen. Flowers suffering from root rot often look fine on the surface all the while they are absorbing something toxic beneath the surface. It is often when the problem is too far gone that you can even detect an issue. Don’t allow that same sneaky rot to happen to you!

Make a move if you need to. Change your atmosphere and change your outcome. Don’t stay stagnant and absorb toxins in a poisonous environment when God is prompting you to make a move.  God’s intention is that we bloom to the fullest! Sometimes to grow it is necessary that we must go. It is up to each of us to protect our roots. Transplant yourself when necessary and trust God that you will indeed bloom!

P is for Persistence


per sist   per, through +  sistere, cause to stand  1 to refuse to give up, esp. when faced with opposition 2 to continue insistently 3 to endure; remain        

Webster’s New Dictionary


Persistence is necessary if we are going to receive the best of what God has for us. Persistence as defined by Webster is a characteristic each of us must take on if we are to finish the race. Each person has his or her own personal journey in life that eventually has a finish line. There will be trials and obstacles to deter you from finishing. There will also be distractions to steer you off course and away from your goal. In order to overcome these pitfalls Persistence is a necessary virtue, one that separates those who could from those who would.

Success, prosperity or being fruitful requires a steadfast determination to refuse to give up. Giving up is quite easy, it’s done by millions each day. When the road is rough and trials are difficult and especially when you can’t even fathom an end to your race it is easy to give up. Your emotions, if not properly focused, will coax you to quit, fooling yourself that your race isn’t that important to finish or suggesting “what difference does it really make?”  Ill influences whether the enemy or even well-intentioned people in your life can convince you that your struggle isn’t worth the frustration or you are wasting your time. It is vital that you stay persistent, defiant that you will not quit until your race is done. This will require shutting some people out of your life if necessary and simply refusing to listen to others who really don’t mean you any harm but can in no way see the vision God has instilled in your heart.

Persistence entails a deep down determination that you will not stop no matter what. Christ said to the disciples in Matthew 18: 3 “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” This verse is usually explained on several levels but one point to explore is that children are persistent. If you are going to complete your race you will need to have a childlike persistence in the approach that you take.

Most children are very persistent! If you promise something to a child, that kid is going to nag you about it until you fulfill the task that you promised to fulfill. Children usually have no shame in asking for what they want.  When kids have questions, they will ask and ask and ask. They don’t tire they just keep on going, talking and doing whatever is fixed on their minds. Like children, we should have our goals fixed in our minds and keep doing, asking and whatever else is necessary to make those things come to pass.

Often we know what we should do but we are not persistent in following through with these things. We should be persistent in praying, not just on Sundays or meal times but throughout the day. Persistence in obedience would make us so much more successful and more readily receive the rewards God would have for each of us. Persistently implementing good habits, discarding bad habits and influences in addition to avoiding those temptations that are pitfalls are often things we know we should do but we fail to do. Instead we often begin with good intentions but soon give up our efforts. Start, stop , start, stop, start, stop until one day we finally “get it” and follow through so we can go on to the next level. If we are persistent in our pursuits of what we should do, this enhances the potential of what we can do.

Finally, persistence denotes a quality of endurance. It is essential that we stay rooted in the Word of God consistently and not just when we are inclined to. We must remain faithful, hope filled and fearless. It is not as hard to get to where you need to be as it is to stay where you need to be to receive God’s best. You must position yourself and stay, remain, endure full of expectation, determined to do your best no matter what. Often we know what we should do but fail to do it more than a couple of days, weeks or even months. Instead, strive to be persistent, like a nagging gnat that refuses to lose its “buzz” for God. Chew on God’s word like a bulldog that refuses to let loose persistent and unfailing in his grip. Persist, or refuse to give up on your goals and God’s purpose for you no matter what it may be and no matter what your current circumstances. Persist in claiming what God has placed in your heart to the point that people just think you are crazy!

P is for persistence. Remain and endure strong in the Lord. Refuse to give up. Continue your race no matter what.

Heavenly father, I pray that I am persistent in my pursuit of your best for my life. I pray for the strength and fortitude to keep going when I don’t feel like it and other people think I am losing my mind. I pray to persist in doing what is right and walking away from those things that would remove your presence from me. Thank you for these things, I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen

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

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?