Life Is A Rose Garden

T.V. has many shows telling you to come to Christ and your life will be a rose garden.  Everything is all upbeat and happy.   Then you have the flip side where people tell you that life is hard, even if you are a Christian, so deal with it.  I think it is important that we raise our children with a realistic picture of our life in Christ. The truth is, THEY ARE BOTH RIGHT!  Life In Christ IS a rose garden but, you can count on it…. life will be hard, regardless!

Life IS A Rose Garden

In the 70’s and 80’s I was a member of the Atlanta Rose Society with my father.  We entered rose shows and I even tested for Jackson Perkins Roses.  Rose gardens are HARD to maintain.   There is so much to making the rose the beautiful flower it is when you cut it and put it on your table.


Black spot – a fungus that causes the leaves to drop and weakens the plant.  The black spot in a Christian’s life is sin and causes weakening in our daily walk; crippling us until we are of no use to Him.  We are to be spotless.blackspot

Aphidssuck the sap out and inject their saliva which passes disease from one plant to another, weakening the plant and keeping it from proper photosynthesis.   aphidsWhen we allow aphids in our life (parasitical non-Christian plans and life styles) to contaminate us with the ways of the world, we cannot grow in Him as He has planned.  This is where we need to learn to be “IN” the world and not “OF” the world.

Root rot – roses do not like wet feet.  They need proper drainage so the soil mixture needs to be correct.  The plant depends on its feet, or as we know them, roots.  If they are wet all the time they will rot and the plant dies.  root rotAs Christians we too can get root rot.  The soil we are planted in and the soil we plant in, must be properly conditioned by the Holy Spirit.  If we are filling our soil with junk and rocks then we will get root rot.  This will cause us to be unfruitful, and we will wither up and die.  What we read, watch, and hear (and what we allow our children to read, watch and hear) conditions our soil.

img_0448Pruning – you must cut a rose off the bush correctly if you want it to grow another flower.   That means do not “hedge trim across the top” and do not cut in the wrong place.  It must be an angle cut above a 5 leaf in order for another rose to produce.  It is VERY specific and it removes the bloom above the cut.  The rose bush loses a bloom.   If it is cut wrong it will not produce correctly, becoming ugly and without blooms. Then there is the winter pruning when the plant is cut to 1/3 of its normal size leaving only the pencil width stems.  It seems harsh and it looks harsh but winter is coming and it will brace the bush for the harsh times ahead.   We must not shun the pruning of the Holy Spirit, especially when we are in a ‘winter’ season.   It will be specific and direct and we need to trust those times when something specific is pruned from our life.  Sometimes it will feel so harsh because winter has begun, again.  Sometimes we think spring has come only to be hit with a harsh winter storm.   If we allow the Lord to prune us correctly, we will produce fruit, many times over regardless of the winters and their length.

Thorns – ever notice that when you get a dozen roses from a floral shop that the thorns have been removed?  thornsThat is because they do not want you to get stuck or scratched.  They want the rose to be nothing but beauty, no thorns attached.  The florist wants the rose to represent the store as a true beauty.  We must remove our thorns daily as we walk among our family, friends and the world.  We must be a true beauty, representing our Savior and not stick and scratch all those we come in contact with.

God plants us as a rose in His garden.  We will have black spot all around us to ward off.  Aphids will constantly try to suck the very Christian life out of us and devour us.  Root rot will try and sneak up on us and we must be constantly aware of where we plant our feet.  Pruning is necessary and it will hurt but, we can trust the Master Gardner knows what is best for us.  If we do not resist, we can grow from His careful shears and will produce even more beautiful fruit.  And finally, we must walk with Him daily removing all the thorns of our lives that would hurt others and be a true beauty to the world of God’s love for us.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 –  “…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 5:20 “…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Blog by RBGreen copyright 2019

Bully for you …

My granddaughter competed in a dance competition this weekend for the first time in almost two years. She moved back from overseas after 12 years. She is 13 years old. Thirteen is an awkward age, not a kid and certainly not an adult (although many parents treat them as adults). While she lived overseas she was teased about being different, her height, among other things. She was 5’7″ by age 12. She was half American, half German and she lived on a Greek isle. So she was different. Teasing is a worldwide issue.

Words hurt. Giraffe, elephant, beached whale, hairball … name calling. After a while they start to believe what they are hearing. I never allowed my girls to say stupid or idiot. Shaping self esteem shapes character on both sides, the giver and the receiver.

We all grew up with teasing. I know I was called everything from toothpick to “flag at half mast” about my body shape. People are cruel. I survived because I had four older siblings and it was survival of the fittest. Low self esteem is created, not born. It comes from teasing and bullying depending on your viewpoint and the intensity of the interactions. If you are an only child, or eldest, there is no buffer to help you. Only child and eldest are the ones that I notice with the most to overcome. My granddaughter is the eldest. My daughter helped my granddaughter by allowing her to make a MUSIC VIDEO.

Cover of “Beautiful”, Age 12

The song talks about being beautiful no matter what people say. I have watched it many times and shared it as a tool. Teachers working with kids about bullying and with moms that have a kid suffering from bullying show the video and then discuss how what you say damages others.

When teasing continues unchecked it hurts and it is bullying. Bullying does not just happen, it is taught. I do not think people even realize they are the teachers.

This weekend as my granddaughter came on stage to perform her solo she was announced as a 12 year old. Her 13th birthday was a couple of weeks back and after the paperwork was turned in to compete. The age division was 12-14 so it really did not matter. You compete at the age you are when you file your papers. In the audience dance groups sit together. Right behind my granddaughter’s group were students and moms from another dance school. One mom said loud enough for others to hear, “Yeah right, 12 … maybe 4 yrs ago”. All parents do it and think nothing of it because it is not their kid. Words. One simple, uncalled for remark.

  • It called into discussion whether she was in the right age group
  • It inferred she was cheating
  • It made fun of her height and body

If I were there, and the one sitting in front of that mom, I would have turned around and told her my granddaughter’s birth date, about the 6’6″ dad, and the teasing and name calling she had already endured. I would have let her know she had just taught all the kids around her the first step in bullying. Yes, I am just one of those people that believes in accountability.

Working in schools and in the community, I have dealt with so many teasing and bullying victims. Sadly, I have had three commit suicide. I remember a young second grade student sitting in my lap in the hall crying over being called “tree” because of her height, and other names because she was biracial. She did not want to walk up straight and be tall. It was okay for boys to be tall but, not girls. She overcame, embraced her nicknames. She grew up to play in the women’s professional basketball leagues with much support from teachers, family and friends. Sadly though, many times family members do not recognize the child is suffering until it is too late. The signs of shyness, withdrawal and even exclusion are there but, sadly not seen.

Sticks and stones will break your bones and words can forever hurt you is truly the way the old saying should read. The Bible accurately instructs us on minding our tongues. We teach a children’s song that has it’s fourth verse instruction on what you say:

“O be careful little mouth what you say
O be careful little mouth what you say
There’s a Father up above
And He’s looking down in love
So, be careful little mouth what you say “

James 1:19 (NASB)
“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; “

Proverbs 12:18 (NASB)
“There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

Ephesians 4:29 (NASB)
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. “

Proverbs 29:11 (ESV)
“A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.”

Be careful with your words. They matter. Someone is always listening. copyright 2019

Shaking In Your Boots

My shaking is in equal proportion to my lack of trust. This thought occurred to me after one of my “life experiences”.

Bridges of life; some scary if you make them.

Have you ever walked a rope bridge and the very shaking as you walked scared you to death? Then someone goes bounding by and makes it shake even worse? You have to remain calm, grab the guide ropes, focus on your steps, the end of the bridge is the goal. You cannot look at the speedster, look around, down over the edge, or behind to get calm. You trust the bridge will hold. because the guidelines are tied to the boards. You stand solid on the boards, hold the guide rope and then proceed, one step at a time.

Life experiences, your bridges, are to make you grow.  As each bridge is walked over you should begin to not feel shakes because you trust the guideline you are holding onto. The shakes are simply movement, part of the process of getting from where you were to where you are going.  You have to take the bridge.

I literally have been scared to death by some of the bridges in life I have traveled. I do not ride zip lines, roller coasters, sky dive or rock climb. I mean, why jump out of a perfectly good plane, right?  I know some people get their thrills from challenging death.  My life’s bridges have provided enough scared to death moments.

  • At eight years of age I was pulled under the surf in Panama City, FL.  My mother got to me before the lifeguard.  I spent two weeks in bed with ruptured eardrums, carbuncles on them and infections.   I would not go in the ocean over my ankles until decades later.  I could not wash my hair in the shower.  I washed it in the sink.  I was scared to death of being under water.
  • At 16 I was a few feet away as I witness a stabbing to a guy’s heart after a football game.  I was taken by deputies to identify the assailants, face to face, still in my majorette uniform.  I was threatened for months before the trial if I testified. The trial was horrific and I was terrified.  I couldn’t sleep without a light on.  I was scared to death of the dark; of certain types of guys.
  • At 27 I was lost during an emergency C-Section. Obviously, they brought me back. But, during subsequent pregnancies I was scared to death of what was going to happen with that pregnancy.  I was scared to death I would not live to see my baby.
  • When my brother died in a plane crash I became scared to death to fly.  I had to take tranquilizers to get on a plane to an already planned convention just two months afterwards.  I would not if I could get there any other way.
  • When I  became conscious briefly, after my double bleed stroke, I realized they were placing me in an air flight from one hospital to another.  First reaction was to fight,  I was still scared to death of flying.  After they discovered the DVA in my brain (from birth) that had ruptured, I lived in fear it would rupture again.
Although I would love to say nothing scares me anymore, I know that is not true.  I may react at first in fear.  But, what I do know is that Jesus is my Guide Line in life, I can hold on to Him as I take each bridge from one point to another as I am on my journey.  I may briefly shake, but I can focus on the bridge because I am holding the Guide Line. The Guide Line calms me  and I can walk step by step calmer.  I do not have to fear or shake in my boots with each new bridge, circumstance of life.

Let’s Call It What It Is, Selfishness.

There is nothing new under the sun. No new faults, desires, sins. It all boils down to self, the “I wants”, right now, greed.

Greed, the hardening of the heart to put self before all else is as old as time. “I want”, “I need”, and “me first above all else” is priority. Self leads to all sins because self rules.

People want to be rich, they want success, they want prosperity, they want everything centered around them, they want… want… want. Wants, not needs, is as old as recorded time.
Yesterday New York celebrated a “want” for women. High society, highly successful New York, so sophisticated, so highly educated, right? Or, are they just turning back time to archaic and barbaric practices? Did they not just erase centuries of advancement for women?

The Canaanites, circa 1509 BC, practiced a ritual of offering their first born to the fires of Moloch so they would receive riches, prosperity and a successful life. Malkam was the same for the Ammonites and Melqart for the Tyrian. Placing their first born in a fire, how barbaric people say. How ignorant, how selfish. God thought so.

Leviticus 20:2 “Say to the people of Israel, Any one of the people of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech shall surely be put to death.

Imagine what He thinks now as New York has just turned back time. Women can now offer their first born to the fires of abortion. Yes, fire, saline abortion is toxic and it burns. Essentially it burns soft tissues, even skin in the womb. The baby is burned even from the inside as the child swallows the solution. Such torture. Unthinkable. Unimaginable. How barbaric. A modern woman would never do such a thing.

New York has done the unthinkable. A woman can choose to torture an infant for convenience, for costs, for unwanted, for wrong gender, for any reason. Be careful though, you still cannot disturb a turtle or eagles nest. Those eggs, fertilized or not, are still protected by state and federal laws.
Welcome to 2019 New York. Your women can sacrifice their first born for convenience, career, riches, gender choice …. success and prosperity. Moloch just changed his name to abortion.

A civilized woman would utilize self control over selfishness. A civilized society would fund adoptions, not abortions.

2019 and God Has Not Changed

As in so many years previous, (as lawbreakers shooting off fireworks kept my weary body awake) I asked the Lord for an easy year. The past 10 had been so hard. But, this past year was hard too, if not harder.

The reality is, life is hard. Circumstances beyond your control surround and almost crush you. As I look back over these past 10 years, life happened. And there were more valleys than mountain top circumstances.

The one truth is, there’s always been one set of footprints, never two. He’s always carried me or I would have never made it through. The mountain tops are the heights your spirit is in on His shoulders as His feet trudges through the valley your current circumstances take you through.

He allows life to happen. He doesn’t ask you to go it on your own. It’s hard to let go and let God. But, oh, when you do….

This year, I ask again Him to carry me where He wants. He has a plan. He’s still on the throne. He’s still in control. He loves me and cares for me. Nothing’s going to surprise Him and catch Him off guard. I can trust Him.

Happy New Year! Trust, obey. ~ RBG

CHRISTmas or Christmas?

CHRISTmas or Christmas?

CHRISTmas … My FAVORITE T Shirt … always draws comments and amens.

Since September Christmas has been showing up in stores and malls.  Santa even came way before Thanksgiving in many places.  We have come to expect it as the norm.  Nothing we can do about it, right?

For Christians Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. So we really have Christmas in our hearts year round.  I love Christmas and will put on a favorite Christmas carol to lift my spirits so to speak.  Sometimes you just need a little help with music.

Music.  Age old Christmas songs, caroling, hymns.  They mean so much to people from all generations.  Traditions are meant to be passed along.  Songs bring back wonderful memories during the holidays.  Our family started the holidays with Thanksgiving’s “Bless This House” and “We Gather Together”.  I am trying to recreate those traditions for my grandchildren.  Each year the commercialization is getting worse and making it more difficult.  But, at least we can always have them at churches, right?

I have friends all over the USA and this past week I have watched post after post pop up on social media regarding the churches they attend and their musical premieres for Christmas.  I see the pictures, I read the comments:

“Wow, you did a great job.”

“Love the scenery.”

“It was great seeing everyone!”

“Wasn’t the reception afterwards fun?”

“A good time was had by all.”

I kept seeing everything pointing to Christmas and noting pointing to CHRISTmas; Jesus, the reason for the season.  The message has been lost in productions, props and action.  The simple story of the Christ child born in the manger lost, or forgotten all together.  In some videos the traditional hymn or carol was so overproduced you could not even hear the words much less understand the message.

There is nothing wrong with plays and musical productions, I  have written several myself.  But, they need to include the simple message of a Savior born in Bethlehem. Wouldn’t it be better for people to come away saying, “wow, what a message”.  Or, “that really made me think about the real reason for CHRISTmas”?

As Christians this year it is important more than ever that we tell the simple story of a poor baby, born in a manger, and the message is not lost in the production of some ‘great show’.  There is a lot to be said of the simple traditions of children telling the story of Jesus’s birth.  Maybe we need to start over  there and see what we are missing.

Blog by – R. B. Green ©2018

When Do Caterpillars Stay Caterpillars?

We seem to have the plague of orange-black-spiked caterpillars olenader-caterpillar-gregarious-ifasall over our front entry.  They are the Oleander caterpillar and produce the Uncle Sam Moth (also called the  polka-dot wasp moth).  Once you see the  caterpillar you soon begin seeing the moths. uncle-sam-moth-ifas-300x286 That is because they eat themselves full of leaves then crawl up somewhere and make a cocoon.  And, as we all know, they emerge a moth, or a butterfly if they are a butterfly caterpillar.  It is called metamorphosis.  We all studied the process early in elementary school.  I collected and hatched them.  I enjoyed learning the process, the types and habits of each.  They are all predictable, they all will change.  It is what happens.  They do not stay a caterpillar.

caterpillardoes not= caterpillar

Sadly, through the years, the term metamorphosis has changed in many areas of our lives.  Not sure why, but, it seems we wanted to make things ‘easier'(?).  If you ever watch a caterpillar spin it’s cocoon or chrysalis and then emerge, then you havecaterpillar-emerging witnessed the struggle as it comes out a new creature.  It is not easy.  There is work involved.  But, it is a moth or butterfly, it does not stay a caterpillar.  emerging butterflyThis is the way God created the process.  So when His word says you must be born again and become a new creature, why do so many these days stay a caterpillar.  They still crawl on their belly, eating leaves, living the worldly life of a worm. Their lifestyle does not change. They were designed to fly above the world as the butterfly; in the world but, not of the world.  They are a new creature.

The church has failed new believers.  I wonder if many are really saved.  They are not taught they are a new creature, leaving the worldly behind for the Heavenly Father’s World.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NASB)

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

Yes, they walk among the world but, they are so transformed that the world spots them and knows them immediately.  They are changed, new creatures.

2 Corinthians 3:18 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”

You can not be saved and still walk as the world walks.  You give up self and all its desires to walk daily with your Lord and Savior.  Old habits die and are left in the cocoon.  Old lifestyles are left behind where the caterpillar crawled.

James 1:23-25 (NASB)

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

Becoming a Christian is life changing.  Have you changed?