Come Forth From the Heart

Matthew 15:18

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart;

and they defile the man.

 

The thistle bloom that grew by the fence

Was purple and brilliant

Sitting atop a mathematical wonder

Of pale green points

 

The perfect orb

A faded base

With prickly spears

 

For all who touch

It’s nature will be known

Sharp and hurtful

Barbs formed

From the inside

Now out

 

 

 

 

proceed

 

 

 

 

 

A New Thing

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

—Isaiah 43:9

 

Many years ago, an elderly neighbor helped me to plant some flowers in my front yard.

The flowers we planted actually came from her yard.

She was sharing what she had with me.

The flowers that we planted bloomed a dark pink, as I recall.

In the years that followed, the flowers began to come back from the new seeds that had fallen in a new color–yellow.

My kind neighbor has since passed away, but the flowers she helped me plant have now spread to a sizeable area in my yard.

Dark pink, light pink and yellow.

The investment she made in our yard was really an investment in our friendship.

The plants that are thriving now came from that original day when she brought over her flowers.

The yellow ones were a new surprise when they first bloomed.

God is the Creator of new things.

New situations.

New hope.

New life.

New joy.

Sometimes, when all we’ve known is pink, we are pleasantly surprised by the yellow.

God is at work.

Can you see it?

 

 

 

newthing

The Lord Forgave You

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

—Colossians 3:13
When we do not forgive, the weight of another’s actions becomes increasingly heavy upon our shoulders. 

Anger and bitterness cannot share the same heart space with love and compassion. 

Our hearts need to be whole and set to a perfect oneness of peace with God and with others. 

Like the petals of a rose bud opening more each day, God’s forgiveness opens to us each moment. 

Fragrant and beautiful, it releases us from the debt of our mistakes. 

May we offer the same to those around us….

According To His Purpose

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

–Romans 8:28

To know—to understand deep within my heart

In all things—the wonderful, beautiful, priceless moments and the crushing, heartbreaking, confusing ones

God works for the good—the good that only He can bring about, the good of His choosing

Those who love Him—those who have seen and felt His compassionate love and mercy and respond 

Called–set apart, chosen

According to His purpose—His design

All praise belongs to Him!

God Has Been Making It Grow

In 1 Corinthians, chapter 3, Paul addresses what some had been saying.

Some people were saying, “I follow Paul.”

Other people were saying, “I follow Apollos.”

Both Paul and Apollos were men who were serving God and through their witness, the people believed in Jesus.

He wanted them to understand what was most important, and what was most important wasn’t Paul or Apollos.

Paul speaks to them in this chapter using the example of seed:

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.

—1 Corinthians 3:6

As we look back in our own lives, there have been faithful people who have invested the truth of the gospel in us at various times.

Believing parents and grandparents.

A Sunday School teacher.

A youth director.

A Christian camp counselor.

A pastor.

A close friend.

As time passes and our situations and locations change, God can still take the seed that has been planted earlier and cause it to be watered by others through their investment in us.

All the while, it is only God who is making this seed of salvation and faith grow.

It is by His power and love that this takes place.

It is a beautiful circle of life.

Someone invests in us and we, then, invest in others.

And all the while, it is God who makes us grow….

watered

Plant Seeds of Peace

And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

—James 3:18

 

 

I really liked the flowers I had purchased.

Placing them at the end of my front walkway in a nice little pot, they were there to greet me each day as I left for work and returned.

When this winter is over, I am hopeful that the flowers with return, as they produced many seeds during their tenure in the warmer months.

I am quite ready to see the new beautiful blooms that emerge from the tender plants that push up through the soil.

We can be like those flowers, too.

What would it be like if we lived our days as peacemakers, planting seeds of peace wherever we happened to be?

 

harvest

Stand Firm

Last night, there was a freeze warning for my area. Wind chills were to be in the 20’s. 

Trying to be conscientious, my husband and I covered many of our outdoor plants to protect them. 

This morning, there was frost on our roof. 

As I was leaving a friend’s house this afternoon, I stopped to photograph a common weed growing in their yard. 

They had not covered it in the night, yet it survived and even thrived through the cold. 

1 Corinthians 16:13 reads:
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

That bright yellow bloom was standing proudly in the grass, strong and healthy. 

God is our strength and our help no matter what conditions surround us. 

Keep Me Safe

 

 

As I drove home from work today, I was praying fervently for someone I care about very much.

After being home a few moments, I sat down at the table and began to read my Bible, along with a couple of devotional and study help booklets.

God’s word was comforting to me as I read passages that I felt related to my heart’s longing.

I heard a bird singing outside the window.

Deciding that I didn’t need to be distracted from my reading, I chose not to go to the window to look out.

Moments passed, and I was once again aware of a bird singing sweetly and clearly outside.

This time, I decided I would walk to the window and carefully peer through the blinds into the back yard.

Though I couldn’t find the bird, my eyes were immediately drawn to the rosebush my husband had purchased for me years ago.

Delicately pink roses had burst forth on the bush, covering it with color.

Taking my camera with me, I made my way to the fence and looked at all the blooms.

Beautiful and tender, they brought a certain happiness to my heart.

I was now calmer than on the ride home.

One of the verses I had read at the table spoke of divinely gifted peace:

Tonight I will sleep securely on a bed of peace
    because I trust You, You alone, O Eternal One, will keep me safe.

—Psalm 4:8

I must trust God and God alone to keep my loved one safe.

God is the only One who can.

With that trust, I will rest with a peace that God has given me.

God blessed me with roses this afternoon…

 

 

 

keep-me-safe

 

 

 

The Word of Our God

The grass withers, the flower fades,

But the word of our God stands forever.

—Isaiah 40:8

 

The grass withers.

Flowers fade.

We know that.

The word of our God stands forever.

Do we know that?

Or, stated another way, do we believe that?

Are we comforted by that?

Do we remember that?

The things of this world are temporary.

God and His word are eternal, never ending.

No matter what we may be facing today, God is there.

We can trust His faithfulness completely….

forever.

 

flower-fades

 

 

 

 

Cause to Grow

He waters the mountains from the upper rooms of His palace; the earth is full of the fruit You cause to grow.

 

—Psalm 104:13

 

I purchased some flowers a few months ago and placed them in a pot at the end of my front walkway.

For the longest of time, they were at a fairly consistent height and low to the soil.

Not even remembering what type of flower I had selected, I thought they would stay at the height they were.

Recently, the flowers began a growth spurt.

Some of them look like they may have actually doubled in stature.

God knew all along how tall these plants would get.

I just didn’t.

In fact, they may even grow taller still.

Have you ever thought that things were just going to remain the way there were without changing?

Have you ever thought that certain people would never change?

Have you ever thought that it would be impossible for you to change?

God is in control.

God sees who we can become with His strength and guidance.

It doesn’t matter if we expect it or not, God is still at work.

 

 

 

earth-is-full

Great are the Works

Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them.—Psalm 111:2

Every weekend, vendors come to a local venue near my home to sell items to the general public. 

One of my favorite areas is populated by several people selling a great variety of potted plants, bushes and small trees. 

While walking in that section this morning, I came upon a flowering plant that I did not recognize with vibrant pink blooms. 

Stopping to look at it more closely, I decided to photograph my new discovery. 

Somehow, I think Heaven will be just a bit like this. 

At every turn we will see a marvelous masterpiece of God’s design, new to our eternal eyes. 

Until then, He has given us an entire world to enjoy, as we ponder each of His glorious creations with awe and wonder. 

Countless Miracles

He does great things too marvelous to understand.
    He performs countless miracles.

—Job 9:10

 

The Passion Flowers growing near the fence by the parking lot were so colorful and bright.

Each bloom was so intricately designed and formed in perfection.

God creates beautiful flowers every day.

And not just beautiful flowers.

Beautiful sunsets.

Beautiful rainbows.

Beautiful snowflakes.

And not just all these—

He creates a beautiful heart inside each of us who is willing, every day.

Isn’t that a miracle?

 

marvelous

Cast All

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

—1 Peter 5:7

 

Yesterday, there was a terrible tragedy about an hour’s drive from my home.

People all over the world are talking about it.

Because of our technological capabilities, people all over the world can learn of breaking news in moments.

While being informed is a good thing, it can sometimes be overwhelming, as well.

When I check the news headlines, I get an overview of all the major occurrences across the globe.

Politics, science, war.

Health, sports, natural disasters.

Weather, entertainment, economics.

When horrific things happen–like yesterday’s tragedy–it’s too great to comprehend.

There is so much to take in.

It’s overwhelming for me.

And what about those who are directly affected?

I can only imagine their consuming emotion.

What is there to do?

1 Peter 5:7 reads, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

God is greater than anything we could ever envision.

When we are anxious and troubled, distraught and undone, we can cast our emotions on Him and look to Him to comfort and to heal.

cast all

 

Oh, the Joys

Oh, the joys of those who do not

follow the advice of the wicked,

or stand around with sinners,

or join in with mockers.

—Psalm 1:1

If I am not following the advice of the wicked, then I am probably following the advice from those who aren’t.

If I am not choosing to embrace the lifestyles of  people who are living ungodly lives, then I am probably choosing to embrace the lifestyles of people who are living a godly life.

If I do not join with people who are mocking others, mocking faith or mocking God, I am choosing to distance myself from those who do.

There is joy for those who have a desire to please God and follow His guidance for everyday living.

joys

Clover Honey

Gracious speech is like clover honey–

good taste to the soul,

quick energy for the body. 

–Proverbs 16:24 The Message

While our husbands were playing golf, my friend and I rode near them in a separate golf cart. 

We talked about many things–the lovely scenery, eye exams, birds, church, and my lack of golfing skills….

These were just a few of the random topics that came up as we spent the afternoon together. 

Once, I stopped to get out of the cart to go photograph a tremendous growth of clover on the course. 

My friend is a very gracious woman. 

Like clover honey, she is a blessing to be around. 

I want to be that kind of person. 

Don’t you?

Love Never Fails

Love never fails. 

From 1 Corinthians 13:8

 Today I was presented with an elegant bouquet of white roses. 

They were meant to convey appreciation. 

They were meant to be an encouragement. 

They were meant to show love. 

Honoured to have them, I placed each stem into a vase with water, setting it on my dining table. 

Love never fails. 
 

He Heard Me

Walking with my friends in the garden, I came upon a beautiful camellia flower blooming.

Still cradling water droplets from the recent rain, its delicate, pink petals were layered in elegant, star-like formation.

There’s something curative and calming about strolling through a garden, pausing to appreciate the artistry that God has created in every design.

Fears and anxieties begin to ebb as we view each new expanse of beauty.

Psalm 34:4 reads,

“I sought the LORD and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

What better place to pray than in the quiet solitude of a garden of flowers?

 

 

sought

Promises

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For all of

God’s promises

have been fulfilled

in Christ

with a resounding “Yes!”

And through Christ,

our “Amen”

(which means “Yes”)

ascends to

God for His glory.

–2 Corinthians 1:20

 

 

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promises

No More

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Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.

  Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

  And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.

  He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

—Revelation 21:1-7

 

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no more

A Branch

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The frosted ferns for sale in the store looked interesting.

I had not seen this type of plant before.

Displayed as a plant for Christmas time, the tips of the fronds gave a hint of snow.

Christmas is the time when we remember that Jesus came to Earth as a baby.

His coming was not a surprise.

It was a prophecy fulfilled.

*

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
    from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
    the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and of might,
    the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord
 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

—Isaiah 11:1-3

 

*

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Branch

When I Am Afraid

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Even though it is nearing the end of November, the Romerillo plants are still blooming—at least some of them.

I noticed one at the end of my front sidewalk, gently growing at the edge of my front plant garden.

Many of the plants that were blooming a few weeks ago are gone now, yet these continued to grow.

It was still possible to them to thrive.

Sometimes it can be frightening to be among the few.

Maybe even to be the only one.

I don’t think flowers feel emotion, but I can compare our lives to the plant.

Even if it seems unlikely, God can cause growth in us, no matter what season we are in.

Nothing is impossible with God.

So what if we are afraid out there, blooming all by ourselves?

We must trust in God at all times—

especially when we are afraid.

*
When I am afraid,
    I put my trust in you.

—Psalm 56:3

*

 

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my trust final

A Clean Heart

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I want to let go when I am supposed to let go.

I want to hang on when I am supposed to hang on.

I want to stay when I am supposed to stay.

I want to move when I am supposed to move.

I want to speak when I am supposed to speak.

I want to love when I am supposed to love.

And I want to do it all with a clean heart—a renewed heart.

*

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

—Psalm 51:10

*

 

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clean heart

How the Wild Flowers Grow

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“This is why I tell you: do not be worried about the food and drink you need in order to stay alive, or about clothes for your body. After all, isn’t life worth more than food? And isn’t the body worth more than clothes?  Look at the birds: they do not plant seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren’t you worth much more than birds?  Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it?

 “And why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow: they do not work or make clothes for themselves.  But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers.  It is God who clothes the wild grass—grass that is here today and gone tomorrow, burned up in the oven. Won’t He be all the more sure to clothe you? What little faith you have!

 “So do not start worrying: ‘Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes?’”

—Matthew 6:25-31

 

 

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wild flowers

Everlasting

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Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    throughout all generations.
 Before the mountains were born
    or you brought forth the whole world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

—Psalm 90:1-2

God loves you right now.

God loved your parents.

God loved your grandparents.

God loved your great-grandparents, too.

No matter how far back you can go in your lineage, God has loved every person.

No matter how far back you go or how far forward you look to, God will still love—

From everlasting to everlasting.

*

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everlasting

Declare His Glory

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There is a small market near my son’s apartment in a nearby town.

Quaint and eclectic, it is a delightful place to visit.

Out in front of the store, a cart with flowers for sale brightens the corner.

As each plant is sold, beauty goes out from that place and spreads to another.

Psalm 96:3 reads,

“Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples!”

As we learn of God’s marvelous works and experience His glory, we then may go out and share what we have found to others.

We declare our faith and what God has done to those we are in contact with.

Each time we tell of God’s great love and forgiveness, we spread the beauty of the gospel.

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marvelous works

Wildly Wonderful

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As I walked into the grocery store to pick up a last minute item, I saw a display of fresh flowers for sale.

Stopping to admire the colorful blooms, I found many varieties producing a delightful visual fanfare.

Everywhere I turn, God’s creations tell of His greatness!

*

What a wildly wonderful world, God!
    You made it all, with Wisdom at your side,
    made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.

—Psalm 104:24, The Message

*

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wildly wonderful