intentional boasting

Intentionally Boast in the Cross

boasting in the Cross of Jesus Christ
all images in this post are provided by Gerd Altmann at Pixabay & edited by Mandy Farmer

But as for me, I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world has been crucified to me through the cross, and I to the world.

Galatians 6:14 csb

Who Wrote This to Whom?

Leon Morris wrote, “Galatians is a passionate letter, the outpouring of the soul of a preacher on fire for his Lord and deeply committed to bringing his hearers to an understanding of what saving faith is.” It was written to the Churches of Galatia. It is believed that this was about 15 years following Paul’s conversion on the Road to Damascus but before the council in Jerusalem. (since it was not mentioned in the letter) ‘Galatia’ covered the territory settled by the Gauls.” There is debate about whether the letter was written to northern or southern Galatia because Paul visited them both; however, it’s a moot point because this letter has much to say to all Christians.

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The Turtle Spitter

I was given for my birthday, anniversary, and Christmas a small pond liner, with pump, fountain, 1/2 inch hosing, and… a TURTLE SPITTER. This is its formal, official landscaping term name- “turtle spitter”, It spits water from the pump back into the pond. It more or less happily recycles the water.

This turtle has a happy look on his face despite having a hose clamped to his rear end. He continues day and night to “spit” the water out of his mouth like a fountain.

I am reminded today that God is my filter. When I go to him in pray and scripture ready- giving him my cares, worries he filters them out for me, and then the Holy Spirit comes and fills me back up!

How is God filtering for you today? How is the Holy Spirit filling you?

– Enjoying the peace of filtering and filling with you.

Beauty Broken

I was cleaning windows Saturday, and to make room I had to pick up my nativity platform (yes it was still outside). After picking it up and turning it over I discovered a butterfly cocoon.

I bent down and saw that it was already open. Shoot! I was hoping to take it in the house and maybe get to watch it emerge. As I moved my hand from the fragile, dry cocoon I saw it.

There still shriveled up was the beautiful yellow swallowtail butterfly. It had emerged from the cocoon but was trapped in a situation of no escape. I stood there for a minute and then the tears started to flow.

I cried because I thought of beautiful things placed in wrong places. People in my life giving away their beauty to only have it destroyed. I walked to the shaded grass area and cried.

God! Why? Why does this all have to be so broken? Innocent placement. Wanted safety only to be met with death. Trey was now looking at me and became concerned with my tears. So I shut down the “water works” and smiled.

Somethings can’t be fixed and that is hard. We just have to do our best to learn and move on.

-Weeping with you over beautiful things we have placed in wrong places.

Do Your Best

For my grandson’s birthday, we got him a little Fisher-Price dump truck. It has 2 pretend boulders, a driver, and an interactive dump lever. Along with all that comes battery-powered noise.

The dump truck makes a backing-up sound, idling sound, horn honk, the driver figure says something, and then a song “When You Have A Job To Do, Do Your Best”.

Listening to the song I was pleased that a toy would promote a good work ethic. The voice is always positive and work is not drudgery. All to often in current times work is made out to be “bad”, earning money is “greedy” and some folks want a paycheck to stay home and do nothing even though they are very capable of working, they just chose not to.

Sometimes in my “Grand-MOMIN”, I get bucky. Bad attitude comes around and starts talking with Self-Esteem and the two of them get going. Next thing my flesh is starting to chime in and it all goes bad from there.

I can honestly say some days I feel trapped. This may seem odd, or harsh, but it’s something very real for me and I battle it some days. I daily pray for strength and a good attitude.

Raising Trey is a very good thing. I love Trey and the impact he has on my life, my heart, and my direction. It is an honor to raise a grandchild. He needs someone to be constant, nurturing, loving, affirming of value, and Godly guidance/direction. I by no means am putting a halo over my head. This is hard. It has changed everything from my personal goals to my marriage. Nothing is what it was since October 16, 2019.

Do you struggle with “doing your best”? Maybe you have a relationship that is hard? A job that is difficult? I pray today that God will give you the strength to do your best. We can’t afford anything less.

-Doing my best with you, even if we have to crawl.- Michele

One In the Hand

I am sometimes in awe of what God hears of all my asking and ramblings. I was saying one day it sure would be nice to hold an oriole. They have such a pretty song and are so beautiful.

I had just gotten in the house with Trey and Tucker. Trey was busy motoring around the kitchen in his walker and Tucker was laid out on the floor in the dining room. I saw Tucker jerk up his head so I looked in his direction. There on the floor was a bird! WHAT??!!

Then the bird flew into the kitchen. It was tiny and brown and it fell at my feet. Shoot! Quickly I grabbed the bird up. Goodness he was so small. As I scooped him in my hand I noticed he had a feather in his mouth. Hmm. I bet you hit something. So I walked to the front door and sure enough. I had left the front door open and he must have been flying by and WHAM-O! Dazed and confused he flew deeper into the house, till he fell at my feet.

As I held the house wren I noticed he wasn’t afraid. Usually, their heart is pounding because they are scared. I know this because I have rescued many a bird from one of my best-hunting cats. My familiar routine of holding them loosely and being quiet kicked in.

I inspected him for any wing damage or damage to his feet. Nothing! It was so neat to just look at him and see the beauty of him. Tiny, fragile and being very calm. I bent down to Trey and showed him the bird. He was wide eyed and reached his hand for the bird.

Opening the patio door, I quickly took him to the nearest tree which was my lilac. The lilac is my favorite recovery tree. The limbs are small enough for any bird to safely wrap their toes around, the foliage protects them from other birds or cats.

I found a nice branch and slowly set him on the branch. He still was very calm. His dark eyes following me and my every move. As I gently set his feet to the branch he locked on and then I let go. Slowly I back away and walked back to the house.

God loves you so much and provides you with safety when you need it. Just like that poor house wren, flying along enjoying his day and WHAM-O! Life hit him out of nowhere and he tumbled right into my kitchen.

When we are struggling or have something hit us out of the blue, God provides us with help. Sometimes it is help in ways we would never imagine, from people we would never have dreamed of.

Though I didn’t get the Oriel… I did get to hold what needed to be held, the House Wren.

– Grateful for my landings and recovery places when I am hurting. Honored to serve those who land in my kitchen. AMEN!

Blossoms

Google photos sent me a notification yesterday. It wanted to show me what happened on this day or this week last year. It was interesting to see all that has happened over the last 8 years.

Of interest, was a lilac tree that I had taken a picture of last year. It was in beautiful bloom. So I took my phone displaying the picture and compared it to this year.

This year my lilac tree suffered some damage. A few limbs had to be removed due to wind damage and old age. Also happening this year is just cold, yucky weather. So the blossoms are just starting to bloom.

Even though some tree limbs were removed that lilac was doing all it could to continue and blossom. Isn’t interesting how God can cut things out of our life, things that no longer produce, are dead or diseased. He does this to improve us, make us better than before.

Sometimes when He prunes, it hurts and may feel like serious damage has been done. But give yourself time to recover, heal and bloom again.

John 15:1,2

Jesus the True Vine

1“I am the true vine, and My Father is the keeper of the vineyard. 2He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, and every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes to make it even more fruitful.

NIV
  • Enjoying what the pruning has done or is doing with you.- Michele

Kitchen Sanctuary

I often find that my kitchen easily transforms into a sanctuary. It’s a place of worship, confessions, and thanksgiving. I feed my family and friends, but I also feed their souls.

Soapy hands reach to cleanse dirty dishes, scrub pots and wipe a little face. Pausing for a moment but sometimes minutes. Slowing to rhythms of peacefulness- watching birds feed, mourning doves fly, traffic moving into town, and joggers going by.

Lots of prayers come from my kitchen. Prayers for friends, and family. Prayers to ease suffering, prayers for the healing of our nation, prayers for a new focus, prayers of thanksgiving, prayers to forgive, for more energy to do things I feel inadequate for or lack of energy.

Busy hands can still pray while kneading dough, baking cakes, making coffee, or scrubbing floors. Busy hands guide little fingers prodding and poking in drawers and cupboards keeping them from hurts.

My kitchen sanctuary has a beautiful view. Sunrises are the best, but evening sunset color gently plays off the clouds, making a beautiful canvas for the day’s end. A time to sit out on the patio and reflect, sometimes a time for tears.

My kitchen is a sanctuary.

-Joining you all in your daily sanctuary, where ever they might be. Amen

Grackles!

There they all are again! UG! I do not like grackles. They chase away all the nice birds, all the pretty birds. I stomped around my kitchen fretting about the attendees at my bird feeder.

God quietly reminded me that grackles need to be fed also. Not all the birds he created are “pretty” as I have determined them to be. This made me think about my attitude with folks in church, committees, and social groups.

We all can’t be the pretty robins, goldfinches, and orioles. There needs to be a variety of beauty throughout. God sees beauty differently than we do. He looks in on the heart.

Outwardly we can have all the right clothes to wear, makeup, accessories and say all the right “christiany” things, but it means nothing. God wants our hearts and actions to be in step with his kingdom.

Do you have grackles around you? Maybe at work or church? Perhaps serving WITH you on a committee? God gives us the strength to live and work with the grackles in our lives. Grackles are important and serve a purpose. They have their own special beauty, we just have to get to know them.

-Appreciating the grackles at my bird feeder and in my life along with you.-Michele

Garden of Good and Evil

With the addition of Trey in our home, we have had to readjust from empty nesters to nesters. He is now mobile in his walker and makes the rounds on the Babytona circuit- from the kitchen, into the hallway, up the hallway around into the foyer, through the foyer into the dinning room, and from the dinning room, right into the kitchen again, around the island and the circuit starts all over again.

There does lie a bit of temptation in the dinning room- my plant collection. I have them all cornered in the sunlight. Christmas cactus, succulents, and two others which I have no name for. The cactus and the succulents are not poisonous, but the other two I am going to assume are. We call this cornered area the Garden of Good and Evil.

Trey knows that he is not to play with the plants. He loves to grab and rip. When I first started telling him “no”, it was very hard for him. He would round the table and park right in front of the plants. He would look and reach out, then pull his hand back and look for me.

It was very tempting for him. Every so often I would catch him flicking his fingers in the Christmas cactus. He would flick the leaves and then turn to look if I was there. It was cute to watch him process and struggle with temptation and restraint.

We all struggle with being in our own gardens of good and evil. Some of us may struggle with eating disorders, alcoholism, spending money, gambling, gossiping. What is deadly for one person doesn’t bother the next.

Sometimes we come so close, we just want to see what it’s like. Just to know and like Trey run our fingers through it. Jesus is right there with you. You know you shouldn’t, but temptation is overwhelming.

Gratefully Trey has me to watch and say “no”. I sometimes have to redirect him to something else- its his way of escape. Jesus provides that for you, BUT YOU HAVE TO LOOK FOR THE ESCAPE. Maybe the phone rings, or someone knocks at your door, the car won’t start, someone doesn’t show up. These are all opportunities of escape. USE THEM! Don’t ignore them.

Jesus is always willing and able to produce you a way of escape. I hope you use it!

-Being watchful with you when tempted for our ways of escape!- Michele