THE REASON HE CAME…

Jesus left His throne in Glory and came to earth for:

 

THE LAST

Matthew 20:16 (KJV) tells us this…

16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

THE LOST

Luke 19: 10 (KJV) says…

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

THE LEAST

Matthew 25:40 (NIV) tells us…

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

 

THE LEFT OUT

Luke 7:36-38 (NCV) tells the story…

36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, so Jesus went into the Pharisee’s house and sat at the table. 37 A sinful woman in the town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house. So she brought an alabaster jar of perfume 38 and stood behind Jesus at his feet, crying. She began to wash his feet with her tears, and she dried them with her hair, kissing them many times and rubbing them with the perfume.

 

THE LOOKED OVER

Mark 10: 46-52 says…

  • 46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.
  • 48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. 49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. 50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.
  • 51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. 52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and  followed Jesus in the way.

 

The whole human race fits into one or more of these categories.  We would all do well to remember that the next time we think more highly of ourselves than of others!  But take heart- that’s why Jesus came…to save us from our sins!

Anita

GOOD AND RIGHT…

Here’s one from Benjamin Murray. I’ve often wondered about these same things-in the beginning, in the Garden of Eden…what was it like?  Good one Benjamin! -anita

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“Good and Right”

Oh Most Wise and Sovereign,

What was it like?

How was it like when we walked together?

How did it sound?

How did it sound when we spoke face to face?

 

What is it like?

What is it like when we walk with you?

Is it the same?

How does it sound?

How does it sound to speak though a Mediator?

 

What do we do?

What do we do when we desire to be whole?

How do we return?

How do we return to what You made us to be?

 

What was it like?

What was it like when all was good and right?

How did it feel?

How did it feel when all was good and right?

 

Oh Most Wise and Sovereign,

Hasten the day that all is good and right,

Just as you made it to be.

Benjamin Murray

A Battle Within the Church: Siren-song of the World

Take a look at this post below…WOW!  This will really make you think!  Enjoy! -anita

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A Battle Within the Church: Siren-song of the World

I read a sobering fact recently concerning the state of the church in America. Mainline U.S. churches, such as Presbyterian USA, Lutheran, United Methodist, etc., counted among its membership 28% of all Americans in 1972. By 2014, that number had dwindled to 12.2%. According to Collin Hansen of The Gospel Coalition, a reformed, Bible-based network of evangelical churches, there is a clear reason for this massive defection. “Many mainline Protestant churches have long since forsaken preaching [the gospel of Christ] in favor of promoting the latest social causes. And their churches have emptied.”

Hansen’s point is that, since these churches are simply espousing the same message being proffered by the liberal, secular elements of our society, those churches no longer have anything unique to offer and are being abandoned.

As I struggle with the obvious fact that America is becoming less churched, I take some of Hansen’s message to heart and am encouraged. As our country becomes more secular, Hansen notes a fact that I’ve read elsewhere: an America reliant more on self and less on God is not that different from the way of the world in Jesus’ time. “[America now] is not too different from the multicultural Mediterranean world of the New Testament, where Roman Jurisprudence, Greek philosophy, and various Jewish schools of thought vied for influence.”

Hansen gives us a directive as he quotes the apostle Peter. “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers (in the world) to abstain from fleshly lusts…. Keep your behavior excellent among the gentiles, so that … they may on account of your good deeds…glorify God….” [1 Peter 2:11-12] Hansen translates this passage to observe that Peter “commends purity inside the church and dignity outside the church.”

And following Peter’s admonitions to what end, you might ask, if our society is in fact turning its back on the gospel. Hansen says this: “The world has indeed moved away from the church, but it hasn’t yet discovered any better alternatives or lasting answers.” I would add that, without God, I don’t expect the world to ever find better alternatives. If sinful mankind is left to provide the answers to life, we can easily predict the results. Whether it’s Hitler (poisoned ideology) or Jim Jones (poisoned kool-aid), all we will get is self-aggrandizement. Our young people can look at secular leadership and ideals, with all of their bankrupt promises, and reach their own conclusions as to whether that lifestyle meets their needs. I strongly suspect that many young people will test those waters, find that path wanting, and will turn to the God who provides truthful answers to the question “why are we here.”

Hansen provides a truly uplifting and hopeful end to this dilemma of church abandonment: if the world can offer no meaningful answer to life, “what an amazing opportunity, then, for the evangelical church to make itself a refuge for the orphans of modernity.” In short, we need to keep on keeping on. Don’t change our message to one in synch with the siren-song of the world. Our message is what it has always been: the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ! As in everything in this life, it’s simply a matter of faith; that God will do what He says He will.

Lee Pierce

DOES HE???

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers.” -1 Peter 3:12

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Yesterday, we had a wonderful post from Lee that asked the question…”Does God Still Love Me?”

I don’t know if I’m alone in this boat…but I KNOW that God loves me-He always has, and He always will.  My question at times is, not does He love me…but does He HEAR me?

I know He speaks to me, for I have so many words crammed into my brain that at times I feel as though my head will burst; I can hardly get these words and thoughts down on paper fast enough…but does He hear me when I speak to Him? Sometimes, it feels as though He does not-but I KNOW that isn’t true!  The verse above bears that out!

Yesterday was one of those days for me.  I was in prayer all morning long asking God “WHY?” …WHY do You put these things in my mind?  WHY do You ask me to write them down?  What good is all of Your words and thoughts if they stay in the drawer and no one ever reads them but me?  What is Your purpose for me?

That brought me back to a time a few years ago.  We had gone to the mountains for a couple of days with some friends of ours.  I got sick on the way up there, and was unable to participate in any of the celebrations.  I spent my time in the room…alone.  During that time, I asked God to use the solitude to speak to me.  I sat with my pen and paper, but didn’t hear a thing.  Finally, on the third day, we were already back in town-not far from our house; I still hadn’t heard a word from God.  Just as we started to go over the overpass on Hampden and the Highway, God started pouring words into my mind.  I was scribbling them down so fast, that when I looked at them later-they were almost illegible!  Well-that turned out to be one of my best poems-or so I’ve been told, and the whole thing was written by the time we got to the end of the overpass!  That was all God!

So…after remembering that incident, I decided I would just have to chalk up my feelings of the morning, as to me just “having a moment.”  I’m impatient …I admit it.    I forget that God’s timing is not the same as mine-He doesn’t live by the clock like I do.  A day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years are as a day with Him.  Maybe I’m not supposed to get all of this stuff published…maybe one, or many of my kids will find it upon my death while going through my things and it will be a personal message to them from God…a message that will break their heart and bring them back to the Lord.  The writings may not  be for publication-they may just be for the eyes of one individual…

I have to stop thinking that it’s all in vain-for they are not my words…they are words from God.  His words will accomplish what He wants them to accomplish…I just have to do my part and listen-then write what He tells me to write…and let Him do the rest…use it however and whenever He sees fit.

“O Lord, let my life reflect the joy You have put into my heart, that Your Name may be glorified!” -Unknown

Anita

1 Peter 3.12

DOES GOD STILL LOVE YOU?

Here’s another great one from Lee!  Just what I needed this morning.  Keep ’em coming my friend! -anita

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2 Corinthians 5:18-19 (NIV)

18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

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I’ve been a Christian now for many years. I’ve taught Sunday school to children & adults. I’ve led a Bible study in my home many times. I’ve played in church praise bands for 20+ years. I read multiple devotionals and try to read the Bible every day, typically before I say a morning prayer. I sound like a pretty good Christian with my act pretty well together, don’t you think?

Well, let me let you in on a secret. I fall into traps laid by Satan quite regularly. I was reminded of a big one recently by something I read by Gary Wilkerson of World Challenge. He reminded me of an important fact, pertinent to every practicing Christian. So, what did Rev. Wilkerson have to say that was so important? “…we’re not only saved by faith…we maintain our position in Christ by faith alone.” Wait a minute; that doesn’t sound so earth shaking…or does it?

I was ready to dismiss this sound teaching as something I had heard many times before, when some of Wilkerson’s observations began to resonate with me. Quite strongly, I might add. Maybe they will with you, too. Among other things he said, was this: “Sadly, the longer we walk with God, the more tempted we are to rely on our flesh to please Him. Because of our maturity…we’re tempted to think we can overcome sin in our own strength.” Whoa, that one hit home! I find myself often trying to get God to feel better about me after I’ve done something wrong and sinful. I ask for His forgiveness over and over. I pray, and then pray some more. “Lord, please don’t give up on me, I plead.” Of course, none of these things are “wrong” on my part. It’s the intent that’s so wrong.

Instead of trying to live by faith, I often live by feelings. As Wilkerson puts it: “God hasn’t removed His love from you. When you’re…struggling, He doesn’t ask for more good works from you. He wants you to trust that He’s done everything needed to make you acceptable in His eyes.” In sum, “Jesus made you fully acceptable to God at the Cross.”

As I struggle with my ever-present sin, I forget Who it is I’m dealing with. I ascribe human attributes to a divine God. I think that God is in heaven, keeping a tally sheet of my good deeds vs. my sin deeds. How foolish is that? How sinful is that? In fact, I’m really saying that Jesus’ death wasn’t good enough. Some of my sins somehow weren’t atoned for, I guess. Instead of thinking that God is judging me sin after sin, I really need to be trusting that Jesus really did die, once and for all, for every single one of my sins.

I like the way Rev. Wilkerson puts it: “…[sin] convinces you God wants to judge you…causes you to run from His presence and wallow in your sense of unworthiness, uncleanness….” But instead, Wilkerson reminded me of this important, life-changing truth: “…the Lord never walked away from you. He never changed His mind about His plans for you…He doesn’t flit in and out of your life because of your struggles.” As II Corinthians 5:18-19 puts it, “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ…not counting [our] sins against [us], and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” We’ve been reconciled. In other words, we’re forgiven. Now and forever!

We can’t sell Jesus and His work short. He has promised that we will be able to stand blameless before the Father on Judgment Day. In the meantime, we need to trust in Him—and His promises—every single day. Do we need to ask God to forgive us when we sin? Of course, maybe more out of respect and because He is our friend. But we’re already forgiven before the words come out of our mouth. We need to love our Lord, trust Him, and live up to the standard of man or woman He wants us to be! That He enables us to be! Don’t let Satan tell you otherwise!

Lee Pierce

NO SCIENCE WITHOUT GOD

Here’s another good one from Lee Pierce!  Enjoy! -anita

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No Science without God

I’ve often stated my surprise and complete incredulity at the scientific community’s inability to give God His due when it comes to the physical world all around us. In fact, that same community often jeers and mocks the thought of the very existence of God. In my mind, it kind of gives credence to the old Shakespearean maxim that maybe they protesteth too much! Maybe the science community senses that its stated beliefs don’t stand up to logical criticism very well, but then the Bible says that will be the case: “Professing to be wise, they became fools.” [Rom 1:22]

My thinking on this matter was piqued recently by something I read from Dr. R.C. Sproul. In his teaching series called Creation or Chaos, Dr. Sproul notes that natural science has enjoyed much acclaim in the last 100 years or so as a result of the many great advancements in virtually all fields of study. At the same time, the discipline of theology has not enjoyed similar acclaim, Sproul says. In fact, he goes on to say, many people believe that science and theology are opposed to each other. In Sproul’s opinion though, theology is a science in and of itself. This belief is well founded if you consider that science is typically defined as the study of the structure and behavior of the physical world, topics that get great attention in the pages of the Bible.

The statement made by Dr. Sproul that caught my attention most was this: “A universe governed by chance gives us no foundation for science.” His point is that science lives by the scientific method, whereby experiments are conducted to prove a given postulate. A theory is given more and more credence as experiments are done which continue to give the same results. Sproul’s point is that if, in fact, the universe we live in is really just governed by chance and not by divine order, then no experiment conducted can ever expect to get recurring results.

But recurring results, in themselves, strongly suggest that there is some order, some unbending rules, at work in our world. And this is quite consistent with what the Bible has to say on the topic of order in the universe in Genesis 8:22.

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest,

                And cold and heat, and summer and winter,

                And day and night, shall not cease.

 

Psalm 74:17 says that “[God] hast established all the boundaries of the earth; [God] has made summer and winter.” It seems illogical to me in the extreme that science would say on one hand that everything that exists evolved by chance, and yet allow for the fact that their experimentation shows predictable results time and time again. I don’t think one can have it both ways!

Lee Pierce

 

 

DO YOU WALK WITH THE BROKEN? …OR WOULD YOU RATHER SIT WITH THE GREAT?

“Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors Him.” -Proverbs 14:31 ESV

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7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” -Luke 14:7-11 NAS

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I read a quote yesterday that really made me think. It said this:

“How we walk with the broken, speaks louder than how we sit with the great!”          –Bill Bennot

WOW!  Think about that statement for a minute…let it sink in….  That means, every time we meet someone, whether they are rich or poor, educated or illiterate, handsome or homely, intelligent or ignorant, charismatic or antagonist, your race or of another ethnicity, your culture or another, your social status or below or above…we are to walk with them-where they are, and show them respect and honor.  Give them the dignity that God gives to them-the dignity He gives to all of us!

You see, whether we like to admit it or not…we are ALL broken!  Sin has done that to us!  Even the great leaders of the world have their sins and are broken people because of it.  Just because someone sits in a place of honor, does not make them honorable!  Just because you attend church every Sunday, and the homeless guy on the street never goes-(probably because he would not be welcome to come into a church), does not make you a better person in the eyes of God.

God looks at our hearts!  He’s not interested in what kind of car you drive, how expensive your clothes are, how large your house is, how big your bank account is, or how educated you might be;  God scrutinizes the condition of your heart!

Next time we get all puffed up and think we are at the top of the totum pole…we better fall to our knees and ask God to remind us of how broken we really are!  There’s an old song that Dottie Rambo used to sing, it goes like this:

Roll back the curtain of memory now and then
Show me where you brought me from
And where I could have been
Remember I’m human, and humans forget
So remind me, remind me dear Lord

Nothing good have I done to deserve God’s own Son
I’m not worthy of the scars in his hands
Yet he chose the road to Calvary to die in my stead
Why he loved me I can’t understand –Lyrics by Connie Smith

It would do us all good if we would remember where we came from…how we were broken until someone walked beside us and told us about Jesus;  remember how God brought us out of the miry clay and put our feet upon a solid rock and established our goings! Because without HIM…we are nothing!

Anita

 

BE NOT DISMAYED…

 

 

 

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”       Isaiah 41:10 KJV

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The above verse came from my Promise Box.  I drew it this morning.  I’ve read/heard this verse many times, but as I read it this morning, the word dismayed caught my attention.  I decided to look it up…to find all the facets of the meaning.

It means:

cause (someone) to feel consternation and distress:

“they were dismayed by the U-turn in policy”
synonyms:appall · horrify · shock · shake (up) · disconcert · take aback · alarm · surprise. concern. perturb
WOW! How many times during the day do unexpected things occur-things that we have absolutely no control over?  Only speaking for myself here…but most days, these “occurences” happen more times than I can count!
So, when these unforeseen things…these “series of unfortunate events” happen…how do we handle it?  I know for myself, that the way I ‘handle’ it is not a very pretty picture most times!  I fly off the handle, say things I shouldn’t, hurt people around me with my words, offend God with what I say…and also with what I don’t say but am thinking.   I’m mad at the situation, mad at myself for my reaction to the situation, and…well…just MAD in general; so my day is ruined!
My dad used to have an illustration he used in regards to being dismayed and flying off the handle.  He told a story of three flies that landed in a skillet full of bologna.  These flies went unnoticed by the cook and ate their fill of the delicious bologna that was in the skillet.  The first one thought he’d had enough,  so taxied himself onto the handle, flew off…and fell over dead.  The other two were still eating, and didn’t realize the first fly was gone.  When the second fly was done,  he made his way to the handle, got airborne for a short time, then he fell over dead. The third fly, finally full, made his way onto the handle, raised his wings, and momentarily buzzed off.  He had only been in the air for seconds-and he fell over dead!

 

The moral of the story? …
DON”T FLY OFF THE HANDLE WHEN YOUR FULL OF BOLOGNA!
When we are dismayed at our situation…instead of flying off the handle…we need to drop to our knees and ask Almighty God to sustain us with His right hand of righteousness.
There’s an old hymn that comes to mind:
Be not dismayed what’ere be tide…
God will take care of you!
Under His wings of love abide-
God will take care of you!
Remember, today when things go wrong, and get out of your control, for they will at some point…ask Almighty God to take control of the situation…Don’t fly off the handle!
Anita

PLUNGED AGAIN

Below is a post from our friend and brother in Christ, that works with the homeless community in Lubbock, TX.  After you finish reading this, if you’d like, there is a link where you can thank some of the local folks in Lubbock for helping the homeless there.  Be encouraging…shout out a thank you to our brothers in the ministry down there in TX! -anita

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Plunged Again

I was in need of my daily shower when it was time to go, and I said, “Nah… It will be a bit more authentic this way”.  So off we went with a goal to actually meet people this time.  And it worked.

My sidekick, Agent Z, and I hit the streets again yesterday/last night.  I asked Z what would be the most important thing we could change this time.  He wanted to actually meet some street-homeless people.  I agreed, but I really thought we would up our odds if we just moved our exploration downtown.  But before we got far, we found a whole bunch of homeless in our part of town and learned a lot more for our efforts.  If at first you don’t succeed….

Yeah, the afternoon sun was actually heating up the streets quite a bit for the last week of Winter.  Agent Z and I thought we might do well to purchase cheap, cold sodas and pass them out as ice breakers.  But before we got that far, as we passed through the intersection of Slide Road and the South Loop, we found at least four beggars stationed on the medians at each cross walk.  We knew we had to get out and introduce ourselves.  For even though this was the other direction from our church (located on 82nd Street), it was only about a mile from our house.

We decided to pull into the parking lot by the Mexican restaurant out by the Rooms To Go furniture store.  And this was when our eyes were truly opened.  As we pulled into our spot, I realized that right there in that busy intersection, barely concealed by the bushes and trees, was a camp spot!  A homeless camp spot right under our noses and practically in plain sight!  How could we have missed it all this time?  We drive right by it every day.  Thousands of people drive right by it every day!  I couldn’t believe it.  We definitely have homeless in our part of town.

We approached the spot, which at that moment was occupied by two people, a man and woman we will call Agent D and Agent T, sitting on a blanket next to a shopping buggy.  Agent Z and I introduced ourselves and sat down with D and T and learned a lot from our brief exchange.

The first thing that really thrills me is that they knew who I was!  I mean by reputation.  They had familiarity with Fat Beggars and were excited to meet us.  And Z had packed (providentially, it seems) a box of Pop Tarts in his bag to share with any new friends he might make, and sure enough when he produced them T, the lady, exclaimed that she had been wanting Pop Tarts earlier that morning.  As evidence of our divine appointment, it turned out Z had even brought the exact flavor she had been hankering for!  What can I say?  It was clear to us all that God was blessing us.  And then we began to learn things.

Yes.  There are homeless in our area.  No.  Most of them do not camp here.  They transfer to our side of town during the day and return downtown in the evening.  But a few do stay, and they stay well hidden.  This much we suspected, actually.    But when I asked if any of them ever stay on church property, the notion perplexed them at first.  Agent D began criticizing churches who run people off and named a few names.  But upon further reflection, D spoke of another homeless friend who worked out an arrangement with the Bacon Heights Baptist Church to stay in the play ground on their property.  In fact Agent D began singing the praises of Bacon Heights Baptist for treating the homeless so good!

I had no idea!  I am not saying that Bacon Heights is the greatest church in town (I don’t really know), but I am saying that Bacon Heights has a good reputation with “the least of these brothers” on the streets of Lubbock, and that is truly important come Judgment Day (Matthew 25:31-46).  Go Bacon Heights!!!  I really need to send a thank you note to the pastor there.  If any of my readers here want to click the link in the paragraph above and find a way to send them a note, that would be really cool.

I really could tell a lot more about our plunge, but I don’t want to drag out this post endlessly.  And really there is a lot more we could do still that we have not even begun yet.  But Agent Z and I capped off our plunge by spending the night in the gazebo behind the church we have begun attending up on 82nd Street.  We did not encounter any more street people after we got there (though we did meet a nice police officer at almost 2 a.m.), but we ourselves camped outside our own church and prayed extensively for the place and the people who meet there.  And when I got home this morning, I was in a hurry to shower the two days of stench off myself, since I was in a hurry to run down to the foster care agency and accrue some training credits.

Before I sign off on this post, though, I have one last request for readers (local readers anyway).  I would encourage any followers of Fat Beggars blog living in Lubbock to purchase boxes of Pop Tarts and leave them in the trees and bushes in the landscaped SouthEast corner of the intersection of Slide Road and the South Loop out by the Mexican restaurant out front of the old Rooms To Go furniture store.  I am sure our friends will find them and thank God for them if you do.

Here’s the link to Beacon Heights Baptist Church if you’d like to thank them for helping the homeless!

http://baconheights.com/

Agent X

WORDS MATTER!

Proverbs 25:11 (KJV)

11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

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Our words either help, or hurt.  They lift up, or tear down. They convict, or offend.

Words are powerful!  God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them by speaking them into being!

When we speak curses, or disparaging words to people, we wound their spirits, and cause hurts that take much time to heal…and some folks never recover from the words that were spoken over them!

I’ve heard it said that physical abuse is not as devastating as verbal abuse.  Physical wounds heal in time; but wounds caused by verbal abuse sometimes never heal.  These things stick in our minds and hearts…they get deep down into the cellar of our souls, and fester.

A small seed of “unworthy” begins to grow from those words, and if not plucked out by the root, will flourish like a patch of weeds.  The flower it produces is anything but beautiful…it’s down- right ugly!

Next time we open our mouths to speak…let’s think first, and be careful what we say!

“Words that point us to Christ are always words that matter!” -Unknown

Anita