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By Evangelist Barbara Colbert
     That year, the month of March had come in like a lion and went out like a lion. As I stood on my back porch surveying the condition of my yard, I tried to determine just how much work I would have to do to revitalize the grounds in preparation for planting my spring flowers. The view was bleak. Bundled in my winter garb, and in spite of the bright sunshine, it was still cold enough to see my warm breath puff and whisk away into the brisk morning breeze. 
      My yard was small and scattered with several modest plots where flowers could be planted. But the ground was still covered with a soft frost, and remnants of icy patches lingered on the branches of the evergreen bushes that bordered the parameters of my yard. The soil was mushy and waterlogged with puddles of melted snow and dead matted foliage. Even my violet bush that was usually the first to defy the hardened winter earth, had yet to make its appearance. My mood diminished at the prospect of restoring my garden to the splendor that could only result from hours of persistent toil, sweat, and probably some tears. With a final sigh, I dropped my head, and headed back into the house. Yet, as I turned for one last glance, something caught my attention. From a remote corner of my yard, in a patch of soil so tiny I generally ignored planting, sprouted among the ruins was a bright red tulip, in full bloom,. The color was so vivid, it seemed to command the attention of even the sparrows that suddenly, upon its discovery, had stopped their chirping and skipping about, only to pay it homage. It was breathtakingly beautiful, and I couldn’t believe how it could have possibly escaped my attention before. I could not fathom the idea that it simply sprouted there, just as I’d turned away. Impossible. As I gingerly approached the flower to get a closer look, a gentle breeze suddenly swirled about the yard. The little sparrows at once fluttered away, and a familiar melody chimed in the wind “I come to the garden alone . . . while the dew is still on the roses . . . and He walks with me . . . ” The stunning red flower pronounced in her own glorious way, there is beauty even among the rubble, be careful or you may surely miss it!
  Beauty from ashes declaring that we never know where there is life, just waiting to be born. Sometimes right before our eyes when the burden has become too heavy, and discouragement is on the horizon, there it sprouts, right out of the heavenly blue. Diverse angels in our midst making their presence known just when things look the bleakest, and hope is fading fast. Then comes Life amongst the shambles. An encouraging word from a passing stranger, the laughter of an innocent child, or a perfect red flower, all restoring Life to the gloomy greyness of a wintry day. Life will always find a way. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life . . .” So, when you believe on Him, there will always be Life waiting to be embraced, even in the forest that we sometimes cannot see for the overwhelming trees. 
  As winter will always turn to spring, with God there is always a diamond in the rough. He will not be denied His splendor. Like the red tulip in my yard, His hope will forever prevail for all those who are keepers of the garden of life in Christ. 

By Evelyn M. Bingham
     During these times of political turmoil within our country and around the world, we, the people, are becoming more emotionally uncertain of our future. We worry how we will survive economically, socially, personally and globally in such a negatively charged society as we are to keep our experiencing today. We know, that God is whispering to us in many ways, saying, “Trust me. I got this!” However, being the humans that we are and listening to the dog whistling and mean hate speech being fed to us daily, we tend to forget who ultimately is in charge.  
    To keep ourselves in a sane and balanced state, we must realize and seek to correct the negative, suspicious, subtle and hateful programming we are being inundated with daily. For many reasons, too many of our citizens lack the mental or emotional health or clarity to separate the truth from fictitious lies, which has caused so many of the angry, confused hate filled killings and interactions within our society. 
  To be aware of our feelings and emotions daily, we need to give serious thought to their origins. Consider these following four letter words as words we routinely hear or use each day. We rarely give them a second thought. However, if we consider them as sample words, what do they mean to you? What memories come to mind? I decided to experiment with myself as a game or an exercise. I began by just thinking of four letter words. Care to join me? Feel free to add four letter words of your own. My challenge began when the word hate was used as part of a news report. You don’t often realize what an affect/effect, certain words have on us and our psyche. It is even worse when we are inundated with subliminally, subconscious wordage or messaging. 
  Which of these four letter words have meaning or power over you or evokes a particular feeling? Does it create a feeling of love, hope, anxiety, uneasiness, joy, despair, fear or does it or they promote hopefulness, positivity and thoughts of creativity, representation, activism, concern, progress etc. In surveying the four letter words that I came up with, I realized that 16 of them were negative in connotation: hype, wall, fake, hate, news, dumb, fear, kill, race, hurt, wary, Klan, rude, rash, ugly, flee. There were 18 four letter words of a positive nature: love, talk, hear, pray, walk, heal, live, know, true, nice, good, soul, have, hope, holy, home, care, and help. The few which could be neutral were word, slow, fast, sold, and soil.
  We must be mindful, that as words pass through our ears and penetrate or permeate our mind, they each carry energy and a vibration, which is saved in our mental computer and stored in our cloud, as are visual sights. How will we use the four letter words we have seen here today, or others which you may have created to positively affect and impact our lives and especially those of our children, who do not have the present ability to discern words and their impact upon us? Those of you with an especially creative mind might like to create a short story with the longest word being one of your four letter words. Sounds like a mind challenger to me! Let us pay attention to the words we listen to, say, and believe each day being ever mindful that it is usually a word, which has created an action or a reaction. Words matter!


The splendor of the Rubble
The power of four letter words