By Marie Wells Coutu

Every year about this time, the dead flowers are removed from this flower bed at an office building near me, leaving a wide brown swath of dirt for a few days. Then some fall flowers are planted to replace the ones that don’t thrive in this spot where hey get full sun.

This year, they did add the elephant ear on the ends, which have done pretty well. But for some reason, each spring the flowers of choice are ones that really would prefer a shadier location.

Do you ever repeat the same old mistakes, year after year, month after month, even day after day? I know I do.

Sometimes I plead ignorance—I just don’t realize that what I’m doing is dumb, or wrong, or hurtful to someone I love. Other times, I know that my actions are not pleasing to God, but I choose to continue because I’m weak. Or just because, deep down, I don’t want to change.

But the good news is that God can help us avoid making the same mistakes over and over again, if we ask. King David wrote in Psalm 19:12-13, “Who can notice every mistake? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep me from sinning. Do not let anyone gain control over me. Then I will be blameless, and I will be free from any great offense” (GWT).

Not only will He keep us from sinning, but He will forgive even those offenses that no one else knows about. And once He forgives, we become sin-free in God’s eyes.

Instead of planting the same flowers in the wrong place, I’m going to ask God to help me plant beautiful flowers in the right places—in the lives of others. I trust Him to change my heart so that I want to make the effort to control my tongue, my mind, and my heart.

What repeated mistake will you ask Him to help you with today?

Whom have I in heaven but thee?  And besides thee, I desire nothing on earth.   Psalm 73:25

By Vera Warren Carroll

Many Christians are found, very innocently, keeping our eyes focused on the wrong thing as we live this life of faith.  We focus our attention on what we want in life and our loved ones, spending hour upon hour thinking how we might purchase some expensive item that we have to have or how we can redecorate our house.  It’s the bride-to-be who daydreams about her wedding day or the husband-to-be caught up in thoughts of his dream car.  We fill our minds with idle, often complicated, thoughts that quickly turn to worry the minute we see these dreams not coming to reality.  They become problems that preoccupy our existence, complicating our lives and becoming our primary focus. 

The Word of God is very clear about worry.  (See Matthew 6:25-34) “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  This scripture leads us away from the daily ritual of worry.

The Word also says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NKJV).  Without a doubt this establishes that God doesn’t want us to worry and take our focus off Him.  Doing it God’s way means having more time to focus on Him.  Focusing on Him will move us to grow closer to Him.  

If growing closer to God truly is a desire of your heart and not just words lightly said, then spend more time thinking about Him.  Replace each thought of this world with thoughts that glorify your Father.  Focusing on Him means meditating on Him and His Word.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew  6:33

Whatever you spend hours worrying about--the house, the husband, the wife, the wedding, the car, the bills and the children--just trust God to work it out. Keep your thoughts stayed on Him, seek Him, and you may find those things you worried about weren’t that important anyway.  God will change your desires and you will find that nothing on this earth is worth occupying your every moment.  You will learn that God and His desires are most important and besides Him, nothing is worth the attention and time we give it.

Then you can say as David said, “I desire nothing on earth.”  Focus on God!
©Vera Warren Carroll