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Friday, March 17, 2017

Willing Savior Pt 1


We all have our own unique cross to bear. We each have burdens, sufferings, and painful situations. Most of the time we don’t have a choice. We can’t avoid it. We just shoulder it and go on. 

But if you were to give me a choice? Would I choose to suffer? To go through pain? No thank you. I would never choose to do so. I want to avoid it if I can. 

But what about carrying someone else’s cross? Shouldering someone else’s burdens and pain? Well, I can help a little. But no matter how much I love them, and want to help, I’m only human. I can only do so much. 

But if I could do it, would I do it willingly? That’s a tough question. I don’t know if I would, to be honest. Sometimes with the ones I love the best, I may feel like I would. I don’t like to see them suffer. Or anyone for that matter. But what about someone who deserves punishment? 

Would I take someone else’s punishment for a crime I didn’t commit? I may feel like a noble, good person, but deep down...I just don’t know if I would do that. After all, sometimes they just plain deserve it. 

Well.....I deserved punishment. I am guilty of sin. I was Simon Peter who fell at Jesus feet and cried, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man.” Luke 5:8  I was Judas who betrayed Him for coin. I was much worse. 

I was born into sin. Nobody had to teach me how to sin, I just did it. It was my nature. It rose up within me, like a underground spring. You can’t cap this. So what’s the answer? 

Do all the good works I can to gain God’s favor? Follow all the rules to a T? Go to church every time the door opens? Give all my money to charity? Or just turn a cold shoulder to God and pretend I don’t care? 

I so love Paul’s vulnerability when he shares the his struggle with the sin problem; But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help!

 I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different. Romans 6:17-25 The Message Bible

Yes, thank God, Jesus Christ can and does! Paul goes on to share this gospel, (good news) in the next few verses:

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that. Romans 8:1-4 The Message Bible

Dear friend, let this soak in your spirit. Drink it in. It stirs my spirit. Jesus entered my hot mess of a life and took my punishment. He dove deep in my pain and suffering; Felt. it. all. He set me free. I now have a spring of life, bubbling up within me. Wholeness, joy and peace. 


It’s a gift, a free gift. Yet bought with a price by a willing, suffering Savior. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Rambling Thursdays



Winter is winding down and I’m beginning to plan my garden. When it gets into March, I get restless for Spring. Yet I have done a little work outside. I’ve pruned bushes and the peach trees. Tulips, daffodils, and grape hyacinths are peeking out of the ground. 

I’m primarily a flower gardener, yet I love my vegetable garden as well. Flowers are my passion. I’m willing to try new species. I’ve had some fail miserably and others prove a lovely surprise. I keep track of these successes and failures in a journal I’ve kept for about five years now. 

The journal is great for collecting pictures, store tags, and any useful information. I even have a section for garden quotes. I highly recommend it. In today’s Rambling Thursday’s edition, I thought I would share some ideas for your garden this summer. 

Elderberry: This is something new I planted a couple of years ago. It’s a small shrub that I planted at the back of a border. It exceeded my expectations. It has beautiful lacy foliage with pink flowers. It almost looks like a Japanese maple. Very easy to grow. Plant in the sun or partial shade. You may have to prune it every year. Other than that, not much work at all to maintain. 

Anise hyssop: This is my favorite flower. The flowers are pretty lavender spires. Other colors may be available. Very easy to grow, in fact, it thrives just about anywhere. I’ve transplanted a few plants from one flower. 

It can get a bit tall, so it’s a good back of the border plant. The leaves smell like licorice. Another plus...the butterflies and bees adore it. 

Heliopsis.  Another very easy flower to grow. Almost like miniature sunflowers. It’s thrives in the sun. As long as you dead head the spent flowers, it will bloom till fall. 

It can get a bit tall and fill out quite well. So give it plenty of room. It transplants well also. 

I’m sure you are seeing a pattern by now. Easy to grow, transplants well. That’s how I roll! I’ve done all the work, so learn from me. 

Butterfly resting on a Pholx


Coral Bells: I’ve grown to love these plants. They are similar to Hostas, only smaller and more colorful. Beautiful foliage and some have delicate flowers. They grow in partial to full shade. Easy to grow. They are small, squat plants, so you’ll have to put them in front. There are many varieties and colors. 

Catmint: I discovered this flower a few years ago. Fragrant leaves and purple spires. You can’t go wrong with this one. Very easy to grow. Loves full sun, but probably partial shade will be fine. It will bloom until fall. It’s a small plant, but will widen, so give it room. Butterflies and bees love it. 

Butterfly Bush: If you love lilacs, you’ll love Butterfly bushes. It’s a woody plant that produces small lilac like flowers. Once planted, they will establish themselves for years in your garden. They will get tall and wide. Full sun is needed. If you deadhead the spent flowers, it will continue to bloom into late summer/early fall. You will need to prune it back at the end of the season. Hummingbirds, butterflies and bees love this plant. 

Tiger Lily 


Baptista Bush: This is another similar bush that has become a favorite. My neighbor gave me a start off hers. It has beautiful purple spire flowers and pretty cool foliage. It almost reminds me of a pea vine. It blooms in early summer, but the bush is pretty enough on it’s own. 

Once planted, it will establish itself for many years. So plan on not moving it. 

Hydrangea: I’ve kind of flirted with the idea for years about getting these beautiful shrubs, but have frankly been intimidated. How fussy are they? Is it worth it? I bought a couple and loved them. They love morning sun and afternoon shade. So I found a perfect place to plant them. 

There are a few different kinds, so I would do my research online before you buy. They are beginning to show signs of growth now, so they aren’t exactly delicate in our Indiana winters. I don’t regret planting them. They are beautiful. 

Peony: Of course you must have Peonies! What would spring be without their beautiful, mop head flowers? And wow, so fragrant! They don’t like to be moved about, so make sure to plant them in an well established spot. But once you planted them, that’s about all the work you’ll have to do. 
Just pruning them down after blooming is all the work required here. 

Coneflowers: I love these daisy like flowers. Again, very easy to grow, transplants well, and blooms till fall. Many different colors to choose from. I have many and can’t resist another pretty face when I see one at my local greenhouse. You can’t go wrong with a coneflower. 

All the flowers I’ve listed above are Perennials. They will come back year after year. They’ve been my proven favorites through the years. Start a bed with these in it and you’ll have a great flower garden. Don’t be afraid to try new ones though. Do your research first and go for it. 


Happy gardening!