Wednesday, December 14, 2016

No BoUnDaRieS: Blooming May Require DrEaDs

A bit on the funny side this season. Honestly, this post has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas, but it's likely you could use a quick break from lights, lists, and counting reindeer. I've been thinking lately about "standards" and "boundaries". . .  and I have concluded that I don't like them very much. It should be said that I firmly aGrEE with boundaries that are biblical. Those are the boundaries handed to humanity and myself, by God Himself, which should be recognized and revered! But aren't those given by God, the only ones valuable enough to base our lives upon?

I've been overwhelmed with breaking the box lately. Breaking out of the mOLd that I feel we have all grown too familiar with blissfully abiding in. The boundaries which we have slowly created as our own standard of living, created by our illusions that living has to fit a certain mold. Have you ever thought about how much of our lives are dictated by society and our own worldview which places "standards" within our minds? How many unrightful boundaries have constrained us because of the same influence?

I discovered something about my husband the other day. Well, actually this characteristic is one he has spent almost half my life proving to me. . . that he supports my crazy attempts to break my own boundaries (within limits)! And yesterday's conversation proved that as a certainty. The conversation, brought me to this conclusion: I know I have a supportive husband when I express the reality that I am considering growing dReAdS and wearing bOOts for the rest of my life. . . and he's totally game.

Yes, he was all for it.
No hesitation.
No unfit boundaries.
No unruly standards.

Dreads and boots?! Go for it. He doesn't place me in a box. I guess because he knows me a bit too well. He lets me break the mOLd when necessary. And quite honestly, he has seen me break the mOLd a couple of times :) It keeps our lives interesting, I promise.

But not even Keith, my husband, sets my boundaries. So who alone should?

That's it.

He aLoNe is worthy to place these upon my life and upon yours. Because God alone is JuSt and He alone is TruTh. Any boundary eXteRnaL of God and His Word is of our internal making, of the world itself, or of the Adversary. Those are worth nothing. Bluntly speaking, the world has never proven worthy of my worship and service. We are merely servants to the coMManDeR of our boundaries and standards and we choose whom we serve by whose standard we meet and boundaries we live by. (Read that again if needed!) We serve God by honoring His tRuth, or we compromise for less, and serve the world by honoring theirs.

The best way to do God justice with our lives is by living it according to His CaLL aLoNe, upon our life alone. We live and bLooM (if you will) according to that which allows us to grow! (As I was enlightened by the small voice of a great nephew once, that seeds need "rOOm to grow!".) So here is where grace fits. God's gRaCe gives us the room. Grace helps us find our boundaries through mistakes, mishaps, and misalignment. Grace gives us gentle nudges to the appropriate mOLd of boundaries and standards and gRaCe gives us the freedom, liberty, and safety to find our way out of those which confine. Then, Grace is our uLtiMaTe SubsTiTuTioN. Because there is one standard that we could never meet.


We are imperfect; tainted by flaws and mistakes. Therefore, a perfect One became our substitute. The standard of perfection we count not meet, was RePLaCeD with the Christ who does on our behalf. Now that's GrAcE at it's best.


It's what we trust when we dare to discover our ReAL boundaries.
It's what will guide us to our appropriate standard of tRuTh and nothing less.
It's what we bloom by. And no one ever bloomed in a box.

Let the truth in God's Word and the whisper of His voice alone, be your guide as you trust in His grace, to grow you toward His direction for YoU. What is it that you want to "gO fOr?!" but the world and your own boundaries have made you hesitate? What is it God would have you do? His answer is yours. The God who doesn't fit into AnY box, didn't design you to either.

Nothing more. Nothing less.

Hashtag Rehashes:


Friday, December 9, 2016

This is the Story of "The PriNcE of PeAcE"

I am usually a person of many words, but this time. . . I'm working at keeping it simple. Many people were able to view the parade float my family entered into the Black Mountain Parade this year! It was an amazing moment to see God's vision, His resources, and His work come to fruition. The stories that could be told from the entire process are many, and I hope to eventually write about those. But today's post is to simply explain the vision of the float, which we dedicated to . . .

             "The Prince of Peace."
The story begins with prophesy and is told throughout the float, with a LuMbErJaCk ribbon of red and black. The first ribbon is found in the prophetic words "Prince of Peace" on the manger. Prophesy is the promise of something that has not yet come. Have you ever received a promise, but had to wait in anticipation for the promise to be fulfilled? The Israelites lived in anticipation of the coming King from the first promise in early Genesis, until His entrance.   When they received word from a Prophet, promising something to come, they waited. They anticipated. They hoped as we do when we are given a promise.

One of the sweetest prophesies of the coming Christ is heard from the mouth of Isaiah (an Old Testament Prophet). Isaiah professed to the Israelites and to us, the promise of coming PeAcE.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government will be upon his shoulder;
and his name will be called 
Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God,
The Everlasting Father, 
The Prince of Peace.  
{Isaiah 9:6}

Why so many names to describe a single baby? Because Christ would be many different substances to those in need. There is no mistake in the list of names, for I am certain EvErYoNe will find one distinct name that fits their hearts desire at most. What is your favorite descriptive name? My favorite is . . . The Prince of Peace. Maybe because I struggle with harboring a sense of peace. Your favorite is likely the substance you need most in your life. (We have a wise God who knows His children well.)

This promised Prince would come to finish the mission to bring you and I, peace. Through Isaiah, the promise was spoken, yet unfulfilled to those who hoped. The picture of the prophesy would look like an empty stable. An empty stable, waiting for the fulfillment of its purpose. The sTaBLe was the picture of pEaCe, yet to come. One could wonder how long the stable waited on its hope.

But one silent night, that changed. The stable for the Prince, became filled with bustle in preparation and celebration of His arrival. The fulfillment was taking place! Isaiah's words of promise become the world's reality as Christ entered with His first coming. Christ (on the float) was represented by the golden GiFt lined with LumBerJacK RiBBoN. This story is only beginning for this perfect PrInCe!

Beside the stable and gift, another ribbon is found at the top of a green Christmas TrEE. A tree is our signature visual of Christmas and it is the representation of nEw LiFe. However, this tree's most important attribute is not found in its beauty, but in what it would become.
 It would become, the cross of Christ. 

This tree of vibrant, new life, would be lumbered and stripped of its branches. It would become the rustic cRoSS for Christ to bare. I think of the words of Rev. Billy Graham who reminds us. . . we can never separate the manger from the cross.* Have you ever wondered who cut the tree? This question ran through my mind as I worked on preparation of the float.

"Who lumbered and stripped the tree 
for the cross of Christ?" 
It was me.
It was you.

You and I are the LuMbeRjaCks who cut the perfect green tree, stripped it barren of its branches, and shaved it to its rustic purpose for SaCriFiCe. I'm fairly certain this is the point I will loose some readers. There is no doubt this portion of the story puzzles, angers, and bewilders people. We find ourselves asking, "why death?".

So the Prince could be victorious 
over yours. 

Because reality is, the purchase of anything must cost something and the purchase of our peace, cost God His most prized possession. . . His Son. It cost Christ, His life.

The payment to purchase your pEaCe
                         was the Prince himself.

The perfect new life that began His mission in a rickety stable, would go where none other had gone. All the way to Calvary. To give you new life, He had to bare your imperfection, and defeat your death. The perfect Jesus Christ took upon himself, the cross draped with LuMbeRjaCk ribbon. The cross you and I fashioned.  But the best part is a portion of the story we cannot neglect. . . His ReSSuReCTiOn.

dEaTh LoSt the battle!

Christ defeated not only His own death, but that of everyone who believes on Him. Now that's gOOd news! It is said that without the resurrection, we still remain without hOpE  (1 Corinthians 15: 17-19). His death reconciled us to God... and His resurrection iNsUrEd our EtErNiTy with God (Romans 5:10).

I want you to know that yOuR PeAcE became a possibility, only through a precious newborn Prince in a rickety sTaBLe . . . who bore a lumbered tree, your rugged cRoSS, and was ReSSuRecTeD to bring you new life. The Prince came that you may have peace and He bore anything that could get in the way.

"But he was wounded for our transgressions he was bruised for our iniquities, 
the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." 
{ Isaiah 53: 5 }

He alone pRoVeD aBLe to provide the PeAcE between you and God, the peace of mind that comes from knowing and having faith in God, and the peace of earth and in eternity. * (Scofield, 1945). 

The One who entered earth as The Prince of Peace will return for eternity as the King of kings. Have you honored the Prince of peace as your King of kings? If you believe on Christ, Jesus who completed this work for you and if you would like to accept Him as your personal Prince of Peace, the decision is made within the heart. Below is a simple hearts prayer to help confess your decision :

Lord, I believe that Jesus is the Christ.
He was born as your Son, lived a perfect life, and bore my cross.
I believe He was resurrected and lives eternally with you, so that I can also.
Forgive me of all my unrighteousness (sins) and begin to reside in my life and heart.
Thank you for all you have done and all you will do in my life.
I commit my life to you.

My hope is that you know or come to kNoW the PrInCe 
this Christmas season. If you have any questions, prayer requests, 
or would like to hear more from 
Blooming by Grace, send an email to

Blessings and JoY to you during this Christmas season!


** Notes **

* Information citation: Holy Bible, 1945, Edited by C.I. Scofield, D.D., New York Oxford Universtiy Press, commentary notes on "peace", 1009.

* I cannot dismiss the inspirational words of Billy Graham who said in short "we cannot separate the manger from the cross." So very true that we should not often see a Christmas manger or tree, without seeing the cross of Christ.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The PriNcE of PeAcE

The Baby born as The Prince of Peace
would prove to be the
King of kings

What's the sToRy?
 Hang tight - it's coming this week! 
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