Wise Choices

Wise choices will watch over you.
    Understanding will keep you safe.

—Proverbs 2:11

 

 

While photographing my rose bush this afternoon, I suddenly saw the tiniest little green frog.

Huddled up between the pink petals of a bloom, he had taken shelter.

Surrounded by beauty, he was protected in many ways.

 

Our choices have a definite effect on our lives.

If we make wise choices, we reap the benefits.

If we search for understanding that comes from God, we will avoid many troubles.

The understanding that comes from God will keep us safe from the consequences of poor choices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

wise choices

Because Love Covers

Today is Valentine’s Day.

My husband bought me three rose bushes, two bags of candy and a card.

I will save the card, eat the candy, and plant the  bushes in the yard.

Each bush yields a different color rose.

We will be able to see these bushes as they grow and mature, able to produce many blooms.

Marriage is like that.

We have grown and matured through happy times and sad ones.

Even now, our love is maturing and growing as we get closer to our Heavenly Father.

I am thankful for a husband who loves God and lives his life from that starting place.

Who are you thankful for today?

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.”

—1 Peter 4:8

 

 

 

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Rich Simplicity

A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God.

–Timothy 6:6 The Message

 

A few days ago, I stepped out into my back yard to look at some clouds.

As I approached the fence, I noticed that my rose bush was blooming.

The last time I had checked it, there were no blooms at all.

Now, the bush had several roses in various stages of budding out.

There they were, just being red roses, showing the beauty that God had created.

Roses don’t try to be anything that they aren’t.

Being a rose is good enough.

It is exactly what God intended it to be.

For people, knowing Jesus as our Savior and being ourselves is good enough.

We don’t have to try to be something that we aren’t.

We are exactly what God intended us to be and He will grow us into something more beautiful each day as we enter various stages of our faith journey with Him.

There is a definitely a “rich simplicity of being yourself before God.”

Don’t you agree?

 

 

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What Great Love

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Roses are given as a gift of love.

Graceful and elegant, their aromatic petals delight us as we accept them.

We have been given a gift that is the greatest gift of all.

We must choose, however, to accept it.

God has lavished His love on us!

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.  Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

—1 John 3:1-2

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The Son of the Most High

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A very beautiful Christmas song is “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming.”

I have been listening to an instrumental version this Christmas season.

Here are the words, telling of the coming of Jesus:

Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

Behold, a Branch is growing
Of loveliest form and grace,
as prophets sung, foreknowing;
It springs from Jesse’s race
And bears one little Flow’r
In midst of coldest winter,
At deepest midnight hour.

Isaiah hath foretold it
In words of promise sure,
And Mary’s arms enfold it,
A virgin meek and pure.
Thro’ God’s eternal will
This Child to her is given
At midnight calm and still.

The shepherds heard the story,
Proclaimed by angels bright,
How Christ, the Lord of Glory,
Was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped
And in a manger found him,
As angel heralds said.

This Flow’r whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor
The darkness ev’rywhere.
True Man, yet very God;
From sin and death He saves us
And lightens ev’ry load.

O Saviour, Child of Mary,
Who felt our human woe;
O Saviour, King of Glory,
Who dost our weakness know,
Bring us at length we pray,
To the bright courts of Heaven
And to the endless day.

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In the Bible, we have the account of how an angel was sent to Mary:

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.  But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,  and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

—Luke 1:28-33

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Fresh as the Morning

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The Lord‘s unfailing love and mercy still continue,
    Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.

—Lamentations 3:22-23

As I walked past the roses planted in the church yard, I stopped to photograph them.

The shower was now over and the water droplets were adorning the leaves and petals like transparent jewels.

Fresh after the rain, the life giving water would reach down into the soil, sustaining the beauty for another day.

God’s unfailing love and mercy toward us is ever present.

It reaches down into our lives, sustaining us each and every day.

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Come and Talk With Me

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My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with Me.”
    And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.”

—Psalm 27:8

The rose bush growing by the walkway to my front door has always delighted me.

I don’t believe it has ever had more than eight roses at once.

Most of the time, it has only one or two crimson red blooms.

As I come home from work or leave the house in the morning, often I am greeted with a new bloom.

When I notice a new rose, I am always pleased inside.

The part of me that reaches out to grasp the newness of the moment, night or day, responds to the blessing of the beautiful sight and smell sent to me on a thorny stalk of green.

It’s as though the roses say, “Come and see me.”

When I awaken in the morning, when I am falling asleep at night and at any moment throughout the time in between, God’s voice may bloom in front of me, saying, “Come and talk with Me.”

I want my heart to always respond, “LORD, I am coming,” reaching out to grasp the newness of that moment with God, night or day.

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my heart

He Prunes

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I am not a very experienced gardener, by any means.

The flowers and plants that I do have are all somewhat low maintenance.

More times than I would like to remember, I have unintentionally been the cause of a plant’s demise.

When our family moved into our house sixteen years ago, there was a single rose bush in the front garden area.

Since I knew very little about rose bushes, I left it alone most of the time, hoping it would be all right.

A few weeks ago, I decided to face my fear of possibly destroying the bush and actually do some pruning.

Major pruning.

The bush only had two fairly large canes coming up from the ground.

I decided to cut them off at about two feet high.

Taking the cut branches that had once been my five foot tall rose bush, I placed them in water and later planted them.

Very quickly, the two solitary canes began to grow new branches.

Healthy, vibrant looking ones.

To date, there are four new branches that have doubled the height of what I had left and each branch is making a rose.

In fact, this afternoon, I photographed the first new, red rose to emerge after the pruning!

The old, spindly branches needed to be removed for a long time, but I was afraid.

Afraid of what might happen if the bush “started over.”

I’m not just that way with roses.

There have been times in my life when I have been too afraid to get rid of things in my life that were holding me back.

Things that were in the way of becoming what God wanted me to become.

And it wasn’t only things that I was afraid to allow God to prune, it was attitudes and feelings.

Distractions from what was most important.

Insecurities.

Fears.

God knows what’s best.

Sometimes pruning has to take place if there is to be positive change.

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Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.
—John 15:2

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The Whole Countryside

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What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations. Oh, look—the deep, wide sea, brimming with fish past counting, sardines and sharks and salmon. Ships plow those waters, and Leviathan, your pet dragon, romps in them. All the creatures look expectantly to you to give them their meals on time. You come, and they gather around; you open your hand and they eat from it. If you turned your back, they’d die in a minute— Take back your Spirit and they die, revert to original mud; Send out your Spirit and they spring to life— the whole countryside in bloom and blossom.

—Psalm 104:24-30

The Message

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As a Garden

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As the earth lets its new plants grow, and as a garden causes the things planted in it to grow, in the same way, the Lord God will cause what is right and good and words of praise to grow up in front of all the nations.

—Isaiah 61:11

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The Greatest of These

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Valentine’s Day is coming up.

Candy.

Flowers.

Cards.

It’s all about love.

But, what is love?

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Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

—1 Corinthians 13:8-13

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three remain

Bloom Salvation

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Have you felt the rain?

Have the drops of God’s goodness fallen on your heart?

Has salvation bloomed within you today?

Open up, heavens, and rain.
    Clouds, pour out buckets of my goodness!
Loosen up, earth, and bloom salvation;
    sprout right living.
    I, God, generate all this.

–Isaiah 45:8  The Message

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bloom

Summer and Winter

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It’s that in-between time of year.

The time of year when the thermometer has the most fun moving twenty degrees up and down every day.

I guess, for thermometers, it’s roller coaster season.

Will it be hot?

Cold?

Windy?

You never know.

The leaves on some of the trees have turned golden and brown, scattered on the sidewalk like coins in a treasure chest.

That seems like autumn to me.

The rose bush that towers above the sidewalk isn’t up for the change as yet, though.

Right now, two crimson roses are blooming, just like it was the middle of summer.

The bright red color highlights the walkway up to the front door.

Winter will just have to wait, at least for a little while longer.

I wonder why God made the seasons?

Was it to mimic our lives as we grow older, only with an invitation for new birth in Christ?

It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;
    you made both summer and winter.

—-Psalm 74:17

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