Petals of Praise

petals C mfWhile praying this morning, the Lord revealed to me how flowers and praise commingle to form a symbolic representation of the type of communication He desires to have with me.  Flowers are tangible reminders to me of the beauty of Jesus.  As my eye absorbs the natural beauty of flowers, God pricks my heart to praise Him for His spiritual beauty.  When I praise the Lord, I praise Him for who He is.  I’m not just thanking Him for something He has done for me nor am I asking Him for something.  I am only immersed in the beauty of who He is.  The beauty of a flower revives my desire to praise the Lord and to revel in His beauty.

I want to share the inspirational image from the Lord I am sensing this morning.  I envision my heart swelling with the understanding of who God truly is and I see a small rosebud of praise beginning to break through the flesh of my heart.  Initially the petals of this floral bud are tightly encased in the greenery surrounding it, but praise petals begin to unfold as words of praise erupt from my mouth.  (Luke 6:45) Instead of just words being emitted from my mouth, I see flowerets floating heavenward to the Lord.  My “praise posey” blooms fully in the presence of God.  The Lord not only receives my flower of praise, but He chooses to inhabit my personal petals of praise. (Psalms 22:3)  As He reverently receives my sacred syllables of acclamation, He is blessed. (Psalms 103:1) God not only holds my praises in His hands, but He also chooses to return the praise petals to my heart as He inhabits my praise and dwells within my innermost being.  Like a fragrant flower, I now become the aroma of Christ to those around me. (II Corinthians 2:15) God accepts my sacrifice of praise as  the essence of a blessed bouquet. (Hebrews 13:15)

Praise is a beautiful thing to God who Himself is beautiful.  He fully comprehends the beauty of personal petals of praise.  He also sees you as beautiful, my Reader. So, be full of beauty; beautiFULL.  As Julie Marie Carrier says, “BeYOUtiful”!

My Reader, please join me in offering sacrificial  “praise petals” to the Lord today. Feel free to use the following floral images and scriptural references to assist you in seeing His natural and spiritual beauty. However, do not stop with my suggestions.  Your sacrifice of praise must be composed of personal petals from your heart if it is to reach the heart of God.  The aroma of your audible adoration is more beautiful to the Lord than any fragrant flower He has ever created.

Joyfully,
Cheryl

petals C mfPraise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being,
praise his holy name.
Psalm 103:1

petals 3 mfAccept, LORD, the willing praise of my mouth,
and teach me your laws.
Psalm 119:108

petals A mf

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.
My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.
Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.
Psalm 145:3&21

petals D mfSing to the LORD with grateful praise;
make music to our God on the harp.  Praise the Lord.
Psalm 167:7

petals 8 mfPraise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness
  Psalm 150:1-2

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What’s In Your Garden?

daisies for garden (MF)yellow lily (MF)SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I spent some time in our flower garden this morning.  I can see it from our kitchen window, but it was refreshing to stand amidst the various plants.  I enjoyed the aroma  created by the various flower fragrances.  I touched the delicate petals of a daisy in bloom.  The lilies and geraniums produced splashes of yellow and bright pink while surrounded by green leaves. I pulled a few weeds I found growing among  the flowers because they detracted from the garden’s overall beauty.  As I plucked out those straggly looking green things, I tried to get the roots so they would not grow back so quickly. 

Suddenly I saw a spiritual analogy!  Just as I was the one tending our floral garden, I became aware of the correlation regarding the Lord being the one tending the garden of my heart.  Most likely some weedy sins in my life need to be pulled out by their roots just like the weeds in our flower garden. In Moments with Majesty, Jack Hayford comments that even the best gardens have weeds.  He also says that weeds have a way of diminishing the possibilities of fruitfulness in our lives as well as in gardens.  (p203)  My desire is to get rid of anything hindering spiritual growth in my life. I want to bear fruit for the Lord.  Weeds not only detract from beauty but they also hinder what grows in our gardens, whether they be full of flowers or life experiences.

sdianthus (SS)While I was standing amidst our flowers this morning, my attention turned to the dianthus plants.   They are covered with beautiful pinkish purple flowers, but as my hand brushed across the tops of the flowers I became aware of how many of the blossoms were dried up and needed to be snipped off.  These flowers will continue to thrive all summer if I continue to get rid of the wilted, withered, worthless remains so that new blossoms can grow. I got down on my knees and began the beheading process.  If I had neglected this process, there soon would have been only ugly dried up deadheads.  I thought I had finished my project, but when I got up from the ground and observed the plant from a different angle, I discovered more work to do.  Back down on my knees I went.  In spite of there being more brilliant blossoms than dreaded deadheads, it still seemed like a never-ending task to enable my plant to produce more flowers.  This is a labor of love I will need to continue throughout the summer for our dianthus blossoms.

Since my mind was still attuned to the spiritual symbolism in the garden,  I compared my handling of the dianthus plants with the Lord handling my life.  Just as I gently touched my flowers, so does Jesus gently touch my life to bring healing and wholeness.  From a distance my heart may seem to be flourishing for God, but if I allow His hand to touch the leaves of my life, He most likely will find some things that need to be plucked out if I am to continue to grow and bloom for Him. James 4:8 says, Come near to God and he will come near to you.  Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  As I invite God to come into the garden of my heart and examine my life with a touch of His hand, He may push aside some of my efforts revealing things I have allowed my hands to do that have become dead works unto Him.  He may convict me of a need for repentance in order for the development of new blossoms and blessings. Romans 6:11 says, “count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”  That means I must get rid of the deadheads in my life in order for my life to be a flourishing flower for the Lord.

watering can MF)I completed one final job before I left our garden this morning. I filled my watering can and gave the flowers some water to keep them fresh while the sun shone on them the rest of the day.  Here was another example of God’s care for me.  In John 4:14 Jesus says,whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst, indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  His offer of water is better than the water I gave my flowers.  Thank you, Jesus!

garden#2 (MF)My Reader, what is the condition of your garden today?  Do you need to tend to the flowers in the garden of your yard?  Do you need to allow God to be the Gardener of your soul?  Both you and I might prefer to ignore the weeds and sins in our gardens but if we tend to these fruitless factors the results will be abounding beauty.  We need to make sure there are no weeds hindering either natural or spiritual growth. May the beauty of Jesus be seen in us and not hidden by distracting weeds or worthless deeds.

Joyfully,golden apple #2(MF)
Cheryl

A personal question for you: Is there some soil or soul gardening that you need to do this week?

Blossoms and Blessings

My friend, Sue, recently gave me a book entitled Apples of Gold compiled by Jo Patty.  The compiler of this book is not able to give credit to the authors of the quotes in her book, but she thinks that the original people would feel that what they said was more important than who said them.  Sue is a follower of my blog and immediately thought of me when she saw this book and I am indebted to her for her gift.  Not only do the book and my blog share the same title, but both are based on Proverbs 25:11.  Thanks Sue and Jo Patty!

So, my Reader, I invite you to go for a walk with me through the garden of blossoms and blessings planted in my blog today.  Summer flowers are growing blooming in our gardens and the insight from these quotes are growing into blessings in my mind.  (I have noted the page of Apples of Gold where I acquired each quote in parentheses after the quote.)  

tulips for garden (MF)

He who sows courtesy reaps friendship,
and he who plants kindness gathers love. (p.10)   morning glories (MF) All flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today. (p.33) 

roses for garden (MF)

He who would have nothing to do with thorns
must never attempt to gather flowers. (p.20) 

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Out of the seed the flower,
          Out of the flower the seed;
Out of the need the power
                     Out of the power the deed. (p.68)

violets (MF)

Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds
  on the heel that crushed it. (p.14)

blackeyed susans (MF)

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity.(p.25)

fpoppies (MF)

Pleasures are like poppies spread;
You seize the flower, the bloom is shed. (p.34)

white flowers (MF)

Keep ascending the mountain of cheerfulness
by daily scattering seeds of kindness
along the way as best you can…(p.23)

pink flowers for garden (MF)

All I see teaches me to trust the Creator for all I do not see (p.67)

My Reader, have you found the beauty in the blossoms and blessings I have shared?  Pick a personal bouquet.  You may choose just one flower to put in a bud vase along with a short quote.  Or, you may create a large arrangement with a variety of flowers that requires a large vase while several quotes will stay in your mind.  Whatever your choice, take time to enjoy the of fragrance of flowers and the wisdom of words.

Joyfullygolden apple #2(MF)
Cheryl