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Your Mind is a Garden


Being a writer in this modern world often requires a certain amount of time spent on social media and the internet. I spend time reading articles, stories and news clips, as well as watching videos, gathering and researching information. And often, I find the content rewarding and uplifting.

However, there are times when it seems like most of what I see is negative, sad, hateful, disappointing, disgusting, or rude.

There have been certain news stories for instance, about people and events that are just so horrible that it is hard for my mind to conceive the reality of it. I find myself asking, “How could anyone do such a terrible thing”? I know the answer…because there is evil in the world. But knowing that does not make me feel any better.

Earlier this year, while I was gathering some information for an article I was working on, I read several stories that disturbed me deeply. Everywhere I looked, I found more bad news. With a seemingly constant bombardment of rancid content, I found myself being filled with hatred, disgust and contempt over the atrocities. The emotions going through my heart were so strong, I was physically shaking and began to feel quite sick.

I knew the feelings that I was experiencing were not good, and not according to God’s will. I know He doesn’t want for me to hate anyone. But with each story I read, each news clip and show I watched, I found it more difficult to let these negative emotions go. I decided I had to take a break for a while.

The main purpose of my writing is generally to encourage others and share hope through faith in Jesus, and sometimes a little humor to lift the spirits. In going back over the articles I had been writing, I could see a sourness in them that I knew was not what God wanted for me to share. By secular (worldly) standards, they were fine articles. But not by God’s standards. So I deleted them all.

As a result, I haven’t produced very much writing this summer. Like a drained battery, I needed to recharge myself, and my spirit.

I was reminded of what the bible says in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].” (AMP)

I have spent the majority of this summer working on yard improvement projects, and spirit improvements as well. In reading and studying the bible, and through much prayer, I have found new strength and vitality in my spirit, along with renewed joy.

Two verses in particular had a profound impact on my heart in regards to what had been going on in my spirit:

Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23 AMP)

But take heed to yourselves and be on your guard, lest your hearts be overburdened and depressed (weighed down) with the giddiness and headache and nausea of self-indulgence, drunkenness, and worldly worries and cares pertaining to [the business of] this life, and [lest] that day come upon you suddenly like a trap or a noose; (Luke 21:34 AMP)

As I had been reading and watching negative stories, my thoughts became negative, and so did my heart. My writing (which comes from my heart) was also coming out negative.

I made an intentional change, a decision to “guard my heart”, in refraining from negative influences. In choosing to intentionally surround myself in positive and encouraging people, stories, songs and scriptures, my own spirit has become positive again.

It became very clear to me that what I allow into my mind (what I see and hear) has a very strong influence on my thoughts, which in turn, influences my heart. What is in my heart is what comes out of my mouth, (or written) what I share with others.

I’ve had to learn to not allow myself to be distracted by negative or ungodly images and postings. Sometimes that means scrolling past certain stories, pictures and videos. Sometimes it means turning the channel on the TV, or turning it off altogether. Sometimes it means closing the newspaper, and opening my bible.

It’s not that I’m trying to pretend that there is no evil in the world and that everything is fine. I know all too well bad things happen, evil does exist. But I can’t afford to let it infect my heart and suck all the joy and good things out of my spirit! I can choose what I look at and listen to, and I choose positive and encouraging things, and images that build love and hope.

What do you allow to influence your mind, and therefore your heart?

For parents, what do you allow to influence your children?

Your Mind Is A Garden

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Be A Real Man


What does it mean to be a real man and a good father?

Young boys usually learn the most from what they see and hear from their fathers. It’s natural for them to want to imitate their dad. Then they begin to learn more from the world view. There are only a few relatively short years a father has to help guide his son into becoming a grown man. Fathers, teach your sons. The role model you are is based on what is in your own heart, and is the blue print that will shape the man your son becomes. Do you want him to follow God, or the world? There is no other choice.

Do you want to teach your son to be dishonest? Let him hear you lie.

Do you want to teach your son to be rude? Let him see you treat others harshly.

Do you want to teach your son to be lazy? Let him see you get others to take care of your messes.

Do you want to teach your son to be undependable? Let him see you change your mind frequently, and not keep your promises.

Do you want to teach your son to be disobedient and defiant? Don’t follow the rules when you don’t feel like it.

OR

Do you want to teach your son to be honest and fair? Then show him how, be honest and fair, be a man of integrity. (1 Kings 9:4)

Do you want to teach your son to be helpful and kind? Then show him how, be a humble man of compassion. (Philippians 2:3)

Do you want to teach your son to be responsible and productive? Show him how, do your own work and help others too. (Isaiah 65:21-23)

Do you want your son to be dependable and trustworthy? Show him how, be a man of good character and be consistent. (Matthew 24:44-46)

Do you want to teach your son to follow Jesus? Then show him how, walk with Christ and your son will follow. (Luke 9:23)

Do you want to teach your son to be a real man? TEACH HIM HOW TO BE LIKE JESUS!

“…but as for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord”.  (Joshua 24:15)

Thank You For Your Prayers!


I just wanted to give a quick update, and a VERY BIG THANK YOU for all your prayers!

I just received word, my son is out of surgery and in ICU. He is doing well!!!

He was born with Aortic Stenosis, a defective heart valve. They have waited for years for technology to improve in replacing these valves. He now has a mechanical valve which should last a lifetime, and without further surgeries.

I am a very thankful mother this morning! God blessed me with three beautiful sons. My oldest went Home and walks with Jesus. My youngest went Home for a visit, but was returned to us. Now my second son has a new heart. And I pray it will always be filled with a love for Jesus!

With all my heart, I thank you all so much for your prayers! I know God hears, and answers. He has surrounded with caring and kind hearts that have lifted me up and encouraged me with hope! He gives me courage to face the storms, and strength to go through them. Thank You Jesus! – Amber

The Words We Cannot Speak


(This is a re-post from my AmberLea of Alaska’s Blog)

Every since I heard the news yesterday about the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, my heart has been in a whirlwind. So many feelings and yet, no words to say.

As I’ve read through the Facebook posts and other media, it occurred to me, so many people are hurting and confused and angry. There have been divisions between pro and anti gun groups, people pointing fingers at one or more specific groups, grief and blame galore.

Will any of this bring those children or teachers back, or undo any of this tragedy? NO! It just keeps adding more fuel to a fire of hate, insensitivity, confusion, and it just keeps causing more hurt.

I know people are looking for answers, trying to make some sense of it all. But there is no simple explanation or solution.

But if I may, I do have a small suggestion. When a massive earthquake or hurricane hits and causes much destruction, I’ve seen firsthand how people reach out to each other, to help and support and comfort. I’ve seen total strangers step up and offer a safe, warm place to stay to those in need. And I know the power of prayer and what an effect it can have on so many, near and far.

If the same kind of energy and effort that is being put into the accusing and blaming were to be put into true compassion and helpfulness, the hurting would be so much more bearable. The healing and recovery would be more hopeful.

Tonight as my heart goes out to all the families of the victims and everyone affected, I wanted to say a prayer. But I can’t seem to find any words that would be of any real help, my mind simply draws a blank. So instead, I ask God to hear our hearts, from the deepest pain and know our needs. I know He can hear the words we cannot speak, and He will answer.

The Secret Christmas Wish


The Secret Christmas Wish

By Amber Leggette-Aldrich

It was early Christmas morning in 1968. I rushed out to the living room to see if my father was there. I had made a secret Christmas wish that Santa would bring him home that year. It had been so long since I had seen him and I was afraid that he had forgotten me. To know that he still loved me was the only thing I truly wanted for Christmas.

I tried my best not to show my disappointment. My mother did her absolute best to get a few nice gifts for me. But I didn’t tell her about my secret wish. It always made her cry to see how much I missed my father.

Thirty four years went by before my broken heart was healed after a caring soul taught me about Jesus. I was finally able to forgive my father for not being there for me. It was truly one of the most precious gifts I could have received. Without Jesus and the Gospel, that would never have happened.

One of the first things I learned after my own heart was healed was about reaching out to others that are hurting. The book of James has become one of my favorite books of the Bible. James 1:27 says, Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Angel Tree is an organization that applies this biblical truth through reaching out to children of inmates and their parents. They help these inmates to reach out to their children, helping them to stay connected through providing a Christmas gift. Without their help, many of these children will experience a lonely and painful time, instead of sharing in the wonderful love that Christmas is all about.

Angel Tree is a part of the Prison Fellowship Organization. It was started 30 years ago by an ex-inmate, Mary Kay Beard. She started with 1 tree and 100 paper angels. Each angel represented a child of an inmate with a desired gift for that child. People took the angels from the tree and bought the gifts listed on them for the children and gave them on behalf of the incarcerated parent. Today over 9 million children have received an Angel Tree gift.

When I first heard about Angel Tree and what they do, I knew in my heart that God was giving me an opportunity to reach out with His love to help someone else that was hurting. To be able to give a child a simple gift and let them know they are loved is its own reward. To be able to share God’s Truth with them and their family is a priceless treasure. It could very well be the key to changing lives and healing broken hearts.

I now have a new Christmas wish. My wish is that no child will wake up wondering if their father or mother has forgotten them or if they are still loved. Won’t you join me by partnering with Angel Tree to help make this wish come true? Together we can make a difference. Donate now and give a gift of true love.

For more information on Angel Tree and how you can help visit http://www.prisonfellowship.org/programs/angel-tree/

Don’t Cry Me A River, Help Me Dig A Well


Don’t Cry Me A River, Help Me Dig A Well!

The haunting images of eyes glazing over with death as a child dies in your arms; the shrieking and wailing of mourning announcing the death of another family member; the sickening stench of contaminated living areas; this and much more is a daily way of life for too many.

The main culprit of this devastation is the lack of access to safe, clean water and sanitation. 1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water. And 2.2 million people, most of them children, die each year from diseases related to unsafe water and unsanitary living conditions. This is a global water crisis, but there is a remedy.

There’s an old saying, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for lifetime”.  What if that same principle was applied to the need for clean water? What if in the process of helping to provide the water, we could also provide skills to provide employment? This process could then be duplicated by the very people being helped, which in turn could be used to help others.

There have been technological advances that have created the means to install safe water wells and pumps, in a very affordable and feasible fashion. The materials used to build these wells and pumps are available nearly everywhere at a very reasonable cost. Once the local people are shown how to dig the wells properly and install the simple pumps, they not only have the means to provide fresh, clean water for themselves, but they can use the skills they have learned to help provide the same for others. This increases the rate at which this water crisis can be resolved.

If you could save a child from the agony of slow death, wouldn’t you try?

All too often the general response to this issue is “Well what can I do about it” or “What difference can I make”? Believe me, there is so much that can be done! It all begins with having the heart to care enough to want to help.

Many Christians consider the phrase “What would Jesus do?” when seeking guidance and direction. I think it’s fairly obvious what He would do here. I imagine He might also say, “Don’t cry me a river, help me dig a well”. While it may not be possible to go and help physically dig, you could sponsor a well with only a small donation. Be a hero, save a life.

For more information and to find out how you can help, please visit http://water4.org/simple-solution/

The Baptism


One Sunday morning little Johnny was helping his mother bring the food dishes into the dining hall of the church for the picnic that was to follow the service. Suddenly little Johnny bolted up the stairs to the church sanctuary. A short time later as the congregation had gathered, waiting for the service to begin, the pastor stood at the baptismal tank with a puzzled look on his face. He looked at the congregation and asked, “who put these eggs in the tank?” Little Johnny stood up and replied, “I did Pastor. They’re deviled eggs, so they need to be baptized!”

Luke 18:16-17


But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.” (Luke 18:16-17)

None are too little, too young, to be brought to Christ, who knows how to show kindness to those not capable of doing service to him. It is the mind of Christ, that little children should be brought to him. The promise is to us, and to our seed; therefore He will bid them welcome to him with us. And we must receive his kingdom as children, not by purchase, and must call it our Father’s gift. (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

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