Monday, July 24, 2017

Picky About My Fruit - Bonita Y. McCoy







We become like a tree planted by a cool spring, bringing forth fruit in its time (Psalm 1:3).










Do you ever think about fruit? 

I mean as a mom and a wife I thing about fruit at least once a week at the grocery store. 
I've been to some stores whose produce is lacking, bruised bananas, tiny apples, crushed and moldy grapes. 

I'm picky about my fruit. 

I think God is picky about His fruit too. He doesn't bring it to harvest too soon, nor does He leave it lingering on the branches to rot. 

He brings it to bear at the right time.

I think sometimes we get a little impatient with God and his fruit.  We get impatient about issues and problems in our own life, and we even sometimes get impatient with trouble spots in others. 

We ask God the Father why he can't fix old so and so, or we ask why is it taking so long for our prayers to be answered? 

But as it says in Psalm 1:3, He brings forth the fruit in its time. That's one thing about our Father; He is never too early, nor is He ever too late. 


Challenge: Ask the Lord to produce fruit in your life: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Goodness, Faithfulness, and Self Control.


Finding Beautiful Pieces of Grace,
bym








Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How Should We Love? - Bonita Y. McCoy





1 John 3:16-17 "By this we know love, that he laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word and talk but in deed and truth." (ESV).

We are to love in deed and truth.

Now, deeds we understand. We show love through our actions. If someone is cold, we supply them a blanket. If someone is hungry, we provide them a meal.  Many of us often reach out to help others through acts of kindness.

But how do we love in truth? What does that look like?




Well, simply put, it looks like Jesus.  Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6 ESV).

That is the truth we are to share.

Jesus is the way. He offers life. Through Him, we can be rescued. Telling others about Jesus is showing love.

We definitely need to love through our deeds, but as we meet people's physical needs, let us also meet their spiritual ones by presenting the truth of Jesus as the way to the Father.

Fear will try to stop us. Be courageous.

Be aware, fear of man, what others might think, and fear of rejection will try to stop us.
However, be courageous.

We must love in truth - We must give the captive the key to his cell.
We must give those who mourn or are brokenhearted the balm of healing.
We must tell the poor the good news.

The price has been paid; we have been freed.

The Good News - The Price has been Paid!

How should we love?

As Jesus loved, in deed and truth.



Finding God's Beautiful Pieces of Grace,
bym
bonitaymccoy.com




Thursday, July 13, 2017

Making It Right - Bonita Y. McCoy






Restitution is an old word. We don’t use it much today, but we should. It’s where we have done something wrong and we take action to make it right. Like when we dent someone’s fender and we pay to have it fixed, or we break someone’s favorite bowl and we replace it.

The act of making restitution can be very healing. Of course, for the one who was wronged, but even so for the one who made the mistake.

Once when my middle son was two, he wandered into our neighbor’s yard and picked the blooms off an orchid plant to give to me as a gift. Now, if you know anything about orchids they are very temperamental, getting them to grow isn’t easy.

At the time, we lived on a small island in the Pacific, and our neighbors were a career couple who had no children. So, they were not very understanding when they got home and found a note from my husband telling them what our young son had done and asking them to come see us.

When they came over, we apologized but could tell it had done very little to straighten out the situation. The neighbor explained how hard it was to grow the orchids even in the tropical climate and how he had been waiting for years for the plant to bloom.

We felt terrible.

A few days later the wife paid me a visit to smooth things over and told me that her husband had been so mad that he had gone for a long walk before he coming over and talking with us that day.

This added to the guilt I felt. I wanted to do something, but I wasn’t sure what.

So, I prayed for guidance. The Lord in His faithfulness reminded me of this word, restitution. He pointed out scriptures like Acts 3:21(KJV) and Luke 19:8b (NIV) where Zacchaeus said, “if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’” to show that His way was to make it right.

However, I didn’t think a plate of brownies or money would do the trick.  I asked the Lord to help me find an orchid, blooming to replace the one that had been taken. I knew this was a tall order since orchids were rare on the island, not a native plant. They had to be brought onto the island and cultivated.

But God is big, and God is good.

That week in our paper there was an ad for a yard sale that listed orchids. I was thrilled. I made sure to get up early the day of the sale in order to get one of the plants. Not only did I get a plant, but I got one that was blooming.

After repotting the plant and asking God to go before us, my son and I took it over.

You would have thought we had given him the moon. He thanked us several times, and by his countenance, I could tell we had touched him deeply.

Later that week, he came by to tell us how the plant was doing and that his other plant had a bloom on it too.  He invited both myself and our son to come see it.

By practicing restitution, a situation that could have led to a break in the peace we had with our neighbors was diffused and restored.

Saying you’re sorry and asking for forgiveness is always a good thing, but there are times when we need to make it right through restitution.

Challenge: Is there a situation that you need to make right through restitution either now or from the past? If so, pray and follow God’s leading. You will feel better, and you might make the other person feel better too.

Finding Beautiful Pieces of His grace
bym



Wednesday, July 5, 2017

But I'm Too Busy... -Bonita Y. McCoy




“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” ( NIV).

Over the last few weeks I have been busy, crazy busy.

The kind of busy where you’re not even the one in charge of your own schedule. The kind of busy where you already have a list of things to do and a list of things you’d like to get done, but two or three other people interject a new thought or need or emergency into your day and BAM…

CRAZY BUSY DAYS! 

I started secretly longing for those lazy days of summer. You know, the ones you hear about in songs and movies. Where you sit on a porch swing with a glass of cold tea in a warm breeze, breathing.

So, when I realized it had been a few days since I’d spent time with the Lord, I grabbed my Bible and a few minutes that morning and found a much better stillness then the variety you find on a summer’s eve at twilight. Though, those are pretty awesome.

You would think after years of walking with the Lord I would understand about being still and knowing -  This being still and knowing, it anchors me to Him.

But no. The last few weeks I’ve thrashed about running, striving, working, thinking, wondering… I tossed up a prayer here and looked over a verse there, but no being still in His presence, no waiting to hear from Him, to receive from Him.

No real exalting going on.

In essence, I was saying to God I'm too busy for you. “Father, I know you want me to come hang-out with you, but this life you gave me, well it’s got me all tied up. Sorry no time now.”

How sad when we deprive ourselves of the very person who can lift our load, direct our steps, and breathe life into our days.

Don’t do what I did and wait until your running on fumes before you stop to seek Him out. Be diligent in your time with Him. It will help to keep the busyness of life in check.


So, my challenge to you this week is to be still in His presence. Sit expecting Him to spend time with you, His child. Breathe in the peace that only God the Father can give; then, make your to do list. It might hold a few minutes of time on a swing with a glass of tea in a warm breeze. Just saying.

bym





Monday, June 26, 2017

What's in Your Backseat? - Bonita Y. McCoy


As a mom, my backseat works as a multipurpose area. I have toted three bags of karate gear, backpacks, a change of clothes, and snacks just for one outing. On other days, it’s been filled with groceries, dry cleaning and walking shoes. Sometimes, it carries my newest discoveries in fashion, my dear husband’s items from his buy list, or the dogs.

Over the years, what can be found in my backseat has changed. There for a while you could find people in my backseat, weird.

However, no matter what I carried around with me, eventually the backseat got emptied.

As children of God, I think sometimes we need to stop and empty our backseats. We carry around a lot of extra baggage that works to weigh us down and distract us from God’s purpose for our lives.




Things we pick up along the way throughout our day or week can weave their way into our thinking and attitudes. Someone said something unkind, the car beside you cut you off, or the neighbor across the street took your paper.

When we keep negative thoughts and attitudes hanging around, they zap our energy and draw our attention away from God. We need to release these things into the Lord’s hands.

As we find in Philippians 4:8, “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (NIV).

Also consider Isaiah 55:9, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (NIV).

Our backseats don’t have to be cluttered with negative, unlovely thoughts and attitudes. We don’t have to go through our days carrying this extra baggage. We can give it all to the One whose thoughts are higher than ours. The One who tells us we are wonderfully and fearfully made.

So, I challenge you, check your backseat. Give God any negative thoughts or attitudes. Let Him flood you with His peace and fill you with His grace.

bym







Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Is it time to Prune? - Bonita Y. McCoy



Yesterday, I went into the yard with the idea of pruning the hedges. They looked like characters from Where the Wild Things Are. Their branches, a mishmash of shapes and sizes, lept out in various directions as if they were dancing, wild and untamed.

I began the pruning process, a clip here, a cut there. Limbs and branches fell to the ground as a new shape emerged. It held clean lines and distinct borders, a beginning and an end.




My life at times resembles those hedges. It can take on a wild, craziness that leaves me feeling unproductive and unbeautiful. It becomes hard for me to tell the borders, and the lines begin to blur.

That’s usually when the Lord speaks to me about pruning. Snip, snip.

Some of this pruning can deal with my day-to-day life…the schedule.
Some of this pruning centers on the season of life I am experiencing.
And then some of this pruning focuses on my character, the core of who I am.

Now, to be honest, the day-to-day is like the pruning I did to the hedges, getting everything back in shape. Practicing when to say no, and when to say yes and seeking the Father’s best for us on a daily basis.

The season of life pruning cuts a little deeper. It hurts a little more. I find that it involves letting go, moving on, and starting anew. All these acts require faith, obedience, trust, and hope. They call for the complete belief that God our Father is good.

Then, because the Father loves me, He digs deeper into the roots of who I am. He addresses the issues at the core of my soul. This pruning involves struggle because we give up our rights to self.

He doesn’t leave dead things hanging on in my life like unforgiveness or worry. He cuts them away, and He won’t let fear or anger draw the life from me. He removes them. He snips, snips, until only the good, healthy branches remain.

It conjures up an image of the crepe myrtle bushes I’ve seen along Jeff Road. In the fall, the gardener lops them off until they are no more than a stub. But every spring, their blooms are breath taking.

Our Father is the good gardener, and as it says in John 15:2, “…while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

Pruning is never fun. Whether it’s trying to figure out a new routine or facing a personal fear, it can be painful. However, if God is doing the pruning, the branch will be healthy and the fruit will be beautiful.

bym
bonitaymccoy.com            



Monday, June 5, 2017

Changing Expectations






For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and He examines all your paths.
Proverbs 5:21 (NIV)


 Have you ever thought you knew what you wanted and then later realized God knew better?



That’s what happened to me and my dear husband last week.

We had decided back in March to sell our RV, Seymour.

In order to make the decision, we talked about how little we had been using it. How neither one of us likes to own something and watch it deteriorate. We discussed how bad it was for the engine to just sit.

We reminisced about the fun we had in the RV and the places we had gone as a family. We wanted others to have that experience. Then, we added that the boys are grown, and we are passing into a new season of life. 
We both agreed, “It’s time to sell, Seymour.”

But Seymour wouldn’t sell. We did everything your supposed to do. We prayed. We posted it on Craigslist. We told friends and family.  Still, it did not sell.

March went by, then April, and May. Several people came to look; a few even took Seymour for a spin, but no one wanted to buy our beloved RV.

Finally, near the end of May, we were sitting on our porch discussing again why we wanted to sell the RV when a new idea presented itself. It floated into my mind like it had wings from above. “Why don’t we trade Seymour in for something you could use at the hunting camp?”

We had dismissed using Seymour at the camp because of its engine, but a pull behind would be different.

My dear husband loved this thought. He went that week to see what the trade-in value would be. Guess What? It matched the price we had Seymour listed for on Craigslist.

So, on Saturday, we went and traded Seymour for a travel trailer that we can put out at the hunting camp when not being used for other adventures. To top it off, it was an even trade. 

God must not be done, having us roam the country side, and I’m kind of glad about it. He met our need by changing our expectations and our thinking. I can't wait to see what is a head for us in our travel trailer. 


Challenge: It’s hard to wait on the Lord when you’re trying to move forward whether in a day or in a season of life, but God sees the paths before us and knows the plans He has for us.  Be willing to wait and change your expectations to meet His.


bym



Monday, May 29, 2017

Epic Fail - Bonita Y. McCoy



Psalm 117: 1-2 (The Voice Bible)
Praise the Eternal, all nations. Raise your voices, all people. For his unfailing love is great, and it is intended for us, and His faithfulness to His promises knows no end. Praise the Eternal.


Unfailing love - I don't know about you, but there are days when my love fails, terribly, usually with some tears.

I know I don't like to think about it, but there are days when I do not suffer long with people. I know surprising right? Mom's are supposed to be squishy and patient, but a lot of days, I run out of love before I run out of day.

However, I have found on the days I've spent time with the Lord in His unfailing love - the love that died for me - I have more of His love to give.

My love is limited, but His goes on and on. 

So, I walk in His unfailing love for me and ask Him to let His unfailing love for others flow from me like streams of living water, helping me be squishy and patient and yes, loving.


Challenge: Spend time in God's unfailing love today, and let it soak deep, deep into your soul. Then, sprinkle some on others along the way.


Finding God's beautiful pieces of grace,
bym

bonitaymccoy.com


Monday, May 22, 2017

Life is messy - Bonita Y. McCoy





Psalm 115: 11(The Voice Bible)
All who fear and know the Eternal, put your trust in Him. He is their helper and defender.


We are not without hope.

If God is for us, who can be against us?

So many times, I let anxious thoughts crowd into my mind, leaving no room for the truth of God's word.

It's a lack of trust on my part. I allow the opinions or worries of the world to stir up my own concerns. I'm not saying stick your head in the sand ( never a good idea) and hide, nor am I saying we should walk around with rose colored glasses. That's not healthy, either.

I am a realist, and the reality is Life is messy and hard, but...

And it's what follows that conjunction that I want us to focus on -

Life is messy and hard, but God is faithful, and I can trust Him.
Life is messy and hard, but He will help me when I run to Him.
Life is messy and hard, but He is my defender and will never leave me nor forsake me Hebrews 13:5.

When worry and fear come wandering into our thoughts, we should begin to recall God's promises to us, His children.

Remember what Jesus said in John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Today, hand over whatever has you anxious or worried and ask the Father to give you His peace, trusting that He can do more than we ever imagined or hoped.

Finding God's beautiful pieces of grace,
bym

bonitaymccoy.com

Monday, May 15, 2017

Water, Water - Bonita Y. McCoy






Psalm 114: 7-8
Shudder and quake, O you earth, at the sight of the Lord. The God of Jacob comes, who turns rock into pools of refreshing water and flint into fountains of life-giving streams!


There is nothing too hard for God.

Psalm 114 reminds us that God caused life-giving, refreshing water to come from rocks and flint.
The Holy Spirit, that living water that resides in us, also sprung out of the hard ground - of our hearts and produces Godly fruit in our lives .

God is good at creating something from nothing.

Barren wombs, barren lands, barren lives are no match for the power of our God.

No desert is too dry or too hard or too wide. We need to trust Him with the deserts in our lives, the rocky areas that no one else knows about.

He can meet our needs with the life-giving, refreshing work of the Holy Spirit.

Challenge: Let us take time today to praise Him for the river of living water that flows out of our hearts John 7: 37-38, and let's give Him the dry areas of our lives, so that they too can be turned into areas of use for the Lord.

Finding God's beautiful pieces of grace,
bym

bonitaymccoy.com









Monday, May 8, 2017

Forgetful Me - Bonita Y. McCoy






Psalm 113: 3 (The Voice Bible)
At every time and in every place - from the moment the sun rises to the moment the sun sets - may the name of the Eternal be high in the hearts of His people.

 I am a forgetful woman. I've reached the age where I can enter a room and wonder, "Now, why did I come in here?" It's frustrating.

I'm sure I'm not alone in this phenomena.

Well, as a Christian, I sometimes forget things I should know about  God's Word.
I forget what it says about how I should handle situations in my life.
I forget what it says about how I need to act towards others.
And I even forget sometimes what it says about how I am to act towards God.

Too often, I go to Him with my requests, wants, or desires wrapped up and focused solely on self.

But God is pleased when we remember to praise Him, when we place Him "high in our hearts."

The verse goes on to say to praise Him all day long, where ever we may be.

I love that!

We have access to God all day long, everywhere we are, and we can praise Him for who He is.

  • Glorious
  • Eternal
  • All knowing
  • Lord over all the earth
  • Creator
  • Wonderful
  • Counselor
  • Mighty 
  • The beginning and the end
 
Verse five in the same chapter asks "To whom should we compare the Eternal, our God?"
And all God's children answer, "No one."

He can not be compared, only praised. 

So, This is a reminder for all my fellow forgetful folks -  Praise the Eternal, all day long, all along the way. And if you hear me mumbling to myself, it's just a sign of the times. 

Finding God's beautiful pieces of grace,
bym










Monday, May 1, 2017

Parked on the Truth - Bonita Y. McCoy



You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
Isaiah 26:3.

We need to park our minds at Jesus's door, the way we park our cars at our destination.

Lysa Terkeurst used this concept in her book Made to Crave. She advises us to park our thoughts on what is lovely, admirable, pure, and noble  Philippians 4: 8.



We need to keep our thoughts on His truths - not on the enemies lies.

We need to recognize truth and use it. God's Word is our truth as Jesus followers, and it's His thoughts on topics and life issues that should form our thinking.

Beware of the enemies lies and do not doubt the Word of God. That's the trick the enemy used on Eve.  "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden?'" Genesis 3:1.

The enemy planted doubt in her mind about God's word, then he talked her into giving over to her desires.

In order to combat the lies of the enemy, we must keep our thoughts parked on God's truth.

Here are some truth's to park your mind on today:

"God is our refuge and strength an ever present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

"Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe." Proverbs 29:25

"And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:19

May these bring you peace because you trust in the Lord.

Finding God's beautiful pieces of grace,
bym











Monday, April 24, 2017

Gifts to Give - Bonita Y. McCoy






In Luke 19: 12-27, Jesus tells a parable about a ruler who left to go conquer another kingdom. He leaves ten servants with instructions and money. Sort of like we do with our teenagers when we go out with our spouses, we leave instructions and money.

He told them, "Use this money to buy and sell until I return."

When the ruler came home, he had them give an account of what they had been doing with the money. Again, like our teenagers.

The first guy, who had been given 10 talents, had made 10 times the amount he was given and was rewarded.

The second guy, who had been given 5 talents, made 5 times the amount he was given and was rewarded, but the third guy, who had been given one talent,  had hid his money. He had preserved it, neither increasing it nor losing it.

What strikes me is this: The third fellow didn't follow the instructions.

By preserving the money, he didn't do what he was told to do by his master which was to "use it to buy and sell". By doing nothing, he had been disobedient. He missed the point of the money and lost his reward.

We are given gifts and talents by God to use. We are to invest our lives in God's Kingdom. God's Kingdom being people.

We are not to horde our talents or savor our gifts or hide them. We are instructed to use them. When we do, He promises that those who refresh others will they themselves be refreshed (Proverbs 11: 25 NLT). Because as we know, you can never out give God.




Something else that strikes me is the reason given by the man for not using the money  - It was fear.
Luke 19: 21a  Because I was afraid of you. After all, you're a tough man...

We should not allow fear of others or fear of failing keep us from investing in God's Kingdom.
He has given us our gifts, talents, and resources to use for His glory, our good, and the good of others.

So, don't hide them; use them as the Lord has instructed us to do. (1 Corinthians 12: 7 NLT)
A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.

Challenge:
Find a way to use your gifts to help one person today.
It will put a smile on their face and yours.

Finding God's Beautiful Pieces of Grace,
bym

bonitaymccoy.com

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Transition - Bonita Y. McCoy



photo by Yvette McCoy


Transition Mama. That's me. I'm in the middle of my story, the story of life, and now, its time to move on to a new chapter. But...

After homeschooling for twenty years, I've found it daunting to turn that page. I guess because I know that I will be saying good-bye to the routines, habits, and rhythms of life that have sustained us for so long.

We know we do school in the morning, then we goof off in the afternoon. We know we tackle math, Bible, and any heavy reading before we do writing. We know we make our beds, get dressed, and eat before ten o'clock. We know this. I know this. It's the familiar.

Now, I'm looking at this new chapter. I don't even see a title. It's kind of hazy like someone dropped peanut butter on the page, leaving a mess of uncertainty clumped where the title should be.

But God reminds me - I have opened the door. I will turn the page. I will write the title to this next chapter just as I have for all the rest.

A deep sense of relief floods me.  I don't have to thrash about looking for what should be, because the Great I Am already has a plan.

Yes. He does.

My part? I need to trust, listen, and obey.

Trust that he has me and that nothing will separate me from his love.
Listen to his instructions and follow his Holy Word.
Obey when he directs, knowing that he works all things together for my good.

Is it all clear? No. But then that wouldn't require faith. Instead, the peanut butter remains.
But in his good timing, he will wipe it away to reveal the next thing, and it will be good.

Then the routines, and the habits, and the rhythms of life that I so crave will come, and we'll be off on that adventure.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Finding God's Beautiful Pieces of Grace
bym

bonitaymccoy.com






Friday, April 14, 2017

Life - Bonita Y. McCoy


Luke 24: 1-2   The stone was rolled away -

The stone has been rolled away, and you, too, can look in the tomb and see that Christ has risen.
He is not dead but lives.

And the greater mystery is this: He lives in you!

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

The stone is rolled away...

Life dwells within the child of God.

 - Go Share Life -

Bring the hope of Christ Jesus to those who remain in the tomb.

Finding God's Beautiful Pieces of Grace,
bym











Monday, April 10, 2017

Sticks and Stones, but Mostly Sticks - Bonita Y. McCoy







Living on a farm has its own unique set of seasons. Right now is the season when we prepare. We prepare the garden for planting; we prepare the storm shelter for bad weather, and we prepare the yard to be mowed.

As I was picking up the sticks from the yard and putting them into my cart, I was talking to God.
"Why do I have to pick up sticks. I mean I know why, so my sweet husband can mow. But why?"

I guess you can say I was complaining. I was on my second day of picking up the limbs and sticks, and my heart wasn't in it.

Then the Lord directed my mind to Moses.

He had to herd sheep.

Yep, for forty years, which is a lot longer then two days, he took them from one pasture to another, watching over them, defending them, leading them. God used those sheep to train Moses to lead his people.

So, I asked the Lord. "What are you training me to do through these sticks?" You should not ask the question unless you want the answer.

My verse for the year popped into my mind.

It goes like this: Rejoice Always (even while picking up sticks), pray without ceasing (even while picking up sticks), giving thanks in all circumstance (here are those sticks again); for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (put my name here).

So, I began to thank the Lord. "Thank you for these sticks, because it means that we have these beautiful trees. Thank you that I have to pick them up so we can mow because that means we have land and a home. Thank you for my husband because he is my true friend. Thank you for my cart, so I don't have to make multiple trips."

When I went to dump the cart, I added one more, "thank you that these are sticks and not stones, because it would have been harder if they were stones."  

So, my lesson?

It's not just about being thankful in the big, but it's practicing being thankful in the small, the everyday, the sticks.

We must remember that rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks in the doing of the ordinary is how we are prepared to rejoice, pray, and give thanks in the extraordinary circumstances when they come our way.

So, whatever the task at hand might be, rejoice, pray, give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (my friend).


Finding God's Beautiful Pieces of Grace,
bym

bonitaymccoy.com




Monday, April 3, 2017

Father Knows Best - Bonita Y. McCoy





My appreciation for the prodigal son's father has grown greatly since my own children have gotten older. Older children are hard.

It's hard watching our children, great kids, grow up knowing that they are going to make mistakes, bad choices, and be drawn into many of life's trappings along the way. You give them advice; sometimes they listen, and sometimes they don't.

The prodigal son asked for his inheritance from his father. Basically, he said give me the money that will eventually be mine anyway because I need the money but I don't need you. This must have broken the father's heart.

You know he invested in his son. Taught him about God, showed him how to do the work, encouraged his talents and then BAM! I don't need you any more. By asking for the inheritance, he was saying in affect "You are dead to me."

Okay, Wow!

And yet, the father gave his son the money.

Why?

Because that father knew something that we as parents need to remember, we are not God.
We cannot change hearts. We can plant seeds, and we can water them. We can lead by example, and very important, we can pour out the love of God on them. But we are not God.

Then this incredible father did two things that I find astounding.

He gave his son the money - knowing, and then, he waited.

This father was no dummy. He knew exactly how this was going down. Thanks to Adam and Eve who ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we know. We know how the enemy seeks to kill, steal, and destroy. We know what might, can, or will happen.

And yet, he gave this son what he wanted and let him go.

Now, comes the Wowzer part.

He waited for God to move and change a heart. Talk about patient. He hoped and waited, not out of worry, but out of faith.

Oh my word, how encouraging is that! Because we know how the story ends. God humbled the son's heart, made it pliable and soft, then sent the son - home - to a waiting father who loved him.

Friend, we can trust God with our children.

So, if you're having one of those tough days where you're not seeing growth or any forward movement, don't despair. God loves your child more then you can imagine.  Just keep loving, keep praying, keep being faithful and let God be God.

Finding God's Beautiful Pieces of Grace,
bym

bonitaymccoy.com









Monday, March 27, 2017

5 Reasons - Bonita Y. McCoy



kidclipart

Five Reasons to Practice Counting


2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.


I want to remind you of a wonderful practice by reciting to you Johnson Oatman, Jr.'s words.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done.

The practice of counting our blessings and speaking our thankfulness to God releases many benefits.

Here are five. You can probably think of more.

1. It insures that we keep a tender and soft heart.
2. It keeps us humble.
3. It helps us to see the good in our circumstances.
4. It allows us to keep our focus on Jesus.
5. It keeps depression and fear at bay.

Just as counting our blessings brings a benefit, rehearsing our problems brings fear and anxiety.
I urge you to spend this week practicing counting your blessings.

If your not sure where to start, I'd like to suggest Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts Devotional. She looked for the blessings and found more than she could've imagined. You will too.

Finding God's Beautiful Pieces of Grace,
bym

bonitaymccoy.com
One Thousand Gifts Devotional



Monday, March 20, 2017

Thank You is powerful. - Bonita Y. McCoy



Thank You !


In Lysa Terkeurst's book The Best Yes, she tells us that two of the most important words in the English language are yes and no. Why? Because they guide the direction of our lives. 

How we use these two words and when we use them can change us forever. These words seem so little, but if you think about it, it's true. These two words are potent.  

I would like, however, to add a third set of words, Thank You. 

This month our focus is on Thankfulness, so today, I wanted to unpack the importance of saying "Thank You."

I believe that when we say thank you to others we are doing several things. We are admitting that we needed help: we are acknowledging their talents or expertise in an area, and we are showing gratitude for their willingness to come to our aid. 

In the same way, I believe when we say thank you to our Father we are humbling ourselves and acknowledging that we can't do life without him. As King David said it is in him that we live, and move, and have our being. 

 The Lord loves a contrite and humble heart. Through thanksgiving, we keep our hearts tender before him. Showing gratitude, allows us to be aware of the goodness and kindness of our God, giving him the glory for all the good things he does.  

Today, I challenge you to look for God's goodness and take a moment to give thanks. It will lift your heart and remind you how much he loves you. 

Finding God's Beautiful Pieces of Grace,
bym




Monday, March 13, 2017

Growing Pains - Bonita Y. McCoy

photo by Bonita Y. McCoy



"Then he (Jesus) said to them all:'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take their cross daily and follow me.'" Luke 9:23


When I was a little girl, I used to experience growing pains in my legs. I'm not sure why since I stopped growing at five foot one. From the pain at times, I thought I'd grow to be six feet. Sometimes when it was bad, my mom would rub my calves to help sooth the ache.

As Christians, we experience growing pains as well.

The call by Jesus to "deny ourselves" and "follow him" lends to growth in our spiritual character.

When we show kindness instead of venting anger or we share instead of taking, we grow. That's how God's economy works. You deny yourself; you grow. You give; you get more. You give away your life; you save it. You surrender; you have victory.

By denying ourselves, we give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to grow the fruits of the spirit in us, to make us more like Christ.
However, it's hard, and sometimes, it can be painful, like when we feel all used up or heavy-hearted with the burdens of others that we are praying for.

Here is hope;  we are not in this alone. We are yoked together with Jesus who makes our burdens light. He, like my mother, will sooth the ache of our growing pains and help us to come out stronger and more like him.

Challenge: Ask God for growth in one area. He will empower you!

Finding God's Beautiful Grace,
bym

bonitaymccoy.com




Wednesday, March 8, 2017



Is it November already? You might be asking this because of my focus on giving thanks. I assure you it's only March.

However, my verses for the year are I Thessalonians 5:16,17, and 18, and I've been rotating through them.  This month, I've landed on verse 18 which deals with thanksgiving.

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

As I was mulling these words over, I realized a truth about this command. In this verse, the Lord tucked a wonderful tool we can use in times of trouble and hardship.

By giving thanks to the Lord, we open the door to an oasis of hope in the middle of our crisis. Whatever the crisis might be.

It allows us to remember God's goodness and his faithfulness. It helps us to anchor our thoughts and emotions in Jesus and not let fear and anxiety consume us.  It's the consuming that we are avoiding, not the crisis.

Because life is messy, people I love and care about face so many difficulties. But our loving Father has given us a way to stay anchored even when the waves of circumstances are beating against us and dragging us down.

The tool: Giving Thanks.

Hard to do? Yes.
Will it change our circumstances? No.

But it will change our hearts. And that's the business God is in.

Finding God's Beautiful Pieces of Grace,
bym

www.bonitaymccoy.com


Monday, February 27, 2017

One Body - Bonita Y. McCoy

"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ....If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together." I Corinthians 12:12 then 26

photo by Pexels


Have you ever experienced an injury? I'm sure you have since most of us have experienced at the least a stubbed toe or a blow to the funny bone. So, you know first hand the pain your whole body feels when one part is hurt.

My right heel hurts. It has hurt all week. It's a small body part, not one that demands a lot of care or attention most of the time. But when it doesn't want to co-operate with the rest of the body, you know it.

As I was getting ready for church this morning, I dropped a full bottle of shampoo on that same foot.
So when our pastor talked about the body of Christ, and how we are all connected, I wasn't surprised. My throbbing foot brought home his point.

We as the body of Christ are interconnected. We cannot thrive without each other. We need each other, and I think that was by design.

Paul points out that just as our bodies work as one, so too, does the body of Christ. Because my heel hurts, my body knows it and feels the pain. This is how as the body of Christ we should be. When one of us is hurt or sick or heartbroken, we should feel it. And when one of us is excited or rejoicing, we should feel that too.

So, I challenge us this week to connect. Rejoice with someone who is rejoicing, or lift up someone who is suffering . This way no one in the body will have to feel like they are alone. They will know someone gets what they are going through and cares enough to walk with them.

Finding God's Beautiful Pieces of Grace

bym
www.bonitaymccoy.com




Monday, February 20, 2017

Road Lessons - Bonita Y. McCoy

2Corinthians 5:20 So we are now representatives of the Anointed One, the Liberating King; God has given us a charge to carry through our lives – urging all people on behalf of the Anointed to become reconciled to the Creator God (The Voice Bible).

The other day, I was driving home from running errands. I came to a familiar corner and stopped at the yield sign, so I could look to see if the road was clear.

Clipartkid.com
This is a habit I acquired after my first accident as a teenager in which I failed to stop at a yield sign and the other car had the right of way. Needless to say, my father, the police officer, was not happy with his daughter when he showed up at the scene of the accident.

So, it was well embedded in me to stop and look.

The guy behind me did not hold the same conviction, and in his impatience, honked his horn at me.

For some reason, this just got all over me. I mean it wasn’t like I hung out for a long stretch at the yield sign. I stopped, glanced, heard the honk, and went.

So, I turned into a gas station and let the person go ahead of me.
Once I was back on the road, however, the thought entered my mind to catch up with the honker and give him a taste of his own medicine.

But as I neared him, another thought presented itself. How will this reflect on Christ? Boy, did that cool my jets.

How is my retaliating and honking at this person going to reflect on my Savior?

After all, I am his representative in this world.
Light-
Salt-

Then a flood of scripture came to mind:  Do unto others, we are not our own, love your enemies.

Ouch!!

So, instead I turned on some music and stayed a reasonable distance behind him.
To my surprise, but not God’s, he turned onto my street. Yep. Then into the subdivision where I go to walk.  The honker was a neighbor.

What we do carries weight not because of who we are, but because of whose we are. If our actions do not reconcile others to God, then we need to change our actions. This is one road lesson I plan on remembering. 

God's Beautiful Pieces of Grace
bym


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Cookie Jar Day - Bonita Y. McCoy




For a while, I thought of each new day as a blank slate. And in some aspects, they are.
The Bible teaches that God’s mercies are new every morning, and we know that if we ask forgiveness of our sins, we start fresh without having to carry those sins around with us.

However, recently the Lord gave me a new picture of each day. Each day is like a cookie jar. It holds some wonderful things, and we have to dig into it to find out what those things are.

The word says that the Lord has created good works for us to do from the foundation of the world; It also says that the Lord knows the plans he has for us. And then there is the verse in Proverbs that admonishes us not to brag about tomorrow for we do not know what a day may bring forth.

These verses give the clear picture that God knows what’s in each day. That he has a plan for us from the beginning, and that a day holds events and people that God knows about, but we don’t.

So, the cookie jar is filled. Our job is to be open to God’s direction.

I once read about a woman who prayed each morning asking for her “marching orders”. I like that. I want God’s direction for my day, every day.

I don’t want to obsess, trying to be perfect. I simply want to be available. As Proverbs 16:9 says “A man’s heart plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps.” (NHEB)

Now, if you know me, you know that I am a planner.  So, I’m not discouraging that at all. But I do want to leave room for the Lord and His agenda for me, so that I am ready when he directs my steps on a new or different path then I had originally mapped out.  

Our plans; His directions

With this in mind, I encourage you to plan out your days, seeking God’s direction about what cookies are in your cookie jar of a day. Some days, you may get the crumbs, but other days, you will get the fresh, warm chocolate chip ones that remind you of the love of our Father.


bym

Monday, February 6, 2017

5 Pieces of a Prayer Plan - Bonita Y. McCoy








Hello Friends,


This week I want to give you a tool.Something simple but powerful. It's five practical pieces of a prayer plan. You may be wondering what is a prayer plan. Well, it's a plan about how you are going to do some fervent effectual praying for your family, friends, and yes, even your enemies. 


Five Pieces of a Prayer Plan:


1.) Have an appointed time and place to pray.
Setting aside the time to pray is the first step. Pick a place apart from the rush of the day if you can.

2.) Be specific in your requests.
If you are specific in your request, it will be easier to pinpoint answered prayers. It also allows God to work in us to direct our prayers about ourselves and others.

3.) Find Scripture that deals with the issue or situation and pray it. 
We know from Ephesians 6 that the Word of God is the sword of the spirit. We need to learn to use it.

4.) Pray expecting (No double minded women here).

5.) Keep a prayer journal - Write down the prayer, any scripture used, and the answer when it comes. This is a great faith builder. 

I hope this is helpful. I have been keeping a prayer journal now for many years, and I cannot tell you what joy it brings me when I look back over them and see all that the Lord has done. 

Remember above all else, prayer is a conversation with God. Do some talking, but do some listening too.

bym













Monday, January 30, 2017

Prayer Challenge - Yvette McCoy

photo by Pexels
Hello Friends,

Last months posts dealt with the concept of new. After all, a new year is upon us, and several of us, I'm sure, decided on a new habit or two to start as we entered this fresh beginning of 2017.

Along the lines of new habits, this month I would like to explore the habit of prayer.
I know most of us do pray. But maybe we can dig a little deeper or put some zing back into something that should be a very exciting aspect of our Christian walk.

We are, after all, connecting with the creator of all the universe from the smallest atom to the largest expanse of space.

And we have his attention, his ear.

But even more amazing then that, we have his heart. 


I Thessalonians 5:17 says to "pray without ceasing."

What does it look like in our world now to pray without ceasing?


I believe we are to be quick to pray. We need to get ourselves into the habit of praying first, before any other action is taken. Too often, I run to discuss issues or plans with friends or family before I think to discuss them with the Father. You know putting the proverbial cart before the horse. Which if you think about it leaves you stranded,  unable to get anywhere.

This habit of prayer is hard when we are surrounded by other things vying for our attention: children, phones, televisions. The list of attention grabbers is long. They cause us to lose our focus and forget to pray. We are too busy meeting the demands.

I am reminded of a story about John Wesley's mother ( Wesley one of the founders of the Methodist Church). It is said that being a mother of many children when she wanted to pray she would throw her apron over her head. All the children knew what this meant. Leave mother alone, she is praying.

Now, if need be I can throw an apron over my head, but I think if I'd get into the habit of turning off some of the attention grabbers or excusing myself for a moment or even just whispering a quick prayer when needed, that would be all it would take.

It's the habit I need.

And developing a habit of continual prayer means developing a mind set where Jesus is ever present.

Our Challenge: Praying without ceasing.
Action step: For the month of February, begin praying when you are in the car. Every time you get in the car say a prayer for someone or a situation. Imagine the lives that will be touched.

photo by Pexels


Father,
Thank you for the gift of communication. Thank you that we can talk with you about everything in our hearts, and even though you know all about it before we utter the first word, you listen. I ask you to help us understand what it means to pray without ceasing and give us the ability to form the habit of running to you first. Thank you for Jesus.
Amen

bym









 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Devinely Different - Bonita Y. McCoy




Once we accept Christ Jesus as the way to God, Paul instructs us to put off the old man who is corrupt and to put on the new man. 
Ephesians 4:23

The new us is different. We are different in how we think about God, life, others.  Our minds are renewed.

We are different in how we act. We show mercy and kindness more readily. We are forgiving, having a tender heart instead of a hard one.

We are different in our speech. We leave off filthy language and slander and gossip. But rather use our words to encourage and build up.

We are different even down to our emotions. We give up our right to be right and of being first.

Divinely Different

Daily Deciding 

 

Taking off the old and putting on the new takes practice. It doesn’t come all at once like our redemption. It is a daily choice. As Jesus told us “take up your cross daily and follow me.” 

Placing God's Word and wisdom before our own is hard. We have to practice, practice, practice, and sometimes we still fall flat on our faces. Thank goodness, we serve a loving God who knows all about us being human. 


However, don't be discouraged.  Through His Holy Spirit, he empowers us to become the new man, the new us. And with every day that we choose Jesus and practice God's ways, the new man begins to fit and feel right. 

So, let’s choose to practice our newness, choosing to be different, choosing to follow Jesus every day.

Father,
Fill me with your Spirit so that I can live my life pleasing you. Let me put on the new man and help me to choose Jesus every day. May the difference in me, Lord, make a difference in others. 
In Jesus name.

bym

beautifulpiecesofgrace.blogspot.com

Monday, January 9, 2017

A New Mission - Bonita Y. McCoy

Before we were rescued by Christ, we pursued the mission of self.

We worried about what to eat and what to wear. We viewed everything in conjunction with how it affected self or "me".

Now, in Christ, we have been given a new mission. The mission of bringing others back to Him, the mission of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5.

We are light, so others can see Christ.

We are salt, so others can taste and see that the Lord is good.

We live in His presence, so others can see that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

In our new mission with Christ, self becomes less, so Christ can become more in order for others to become reconciled to Christ.

We are not the Holy Spirit drawing others. We must not try to do the work of the Spirit. We are, however, living sacrifices called to live a life for Christ.  As we live for Christ, others will see Him in us.

"And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again....All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation."

Less of us, more of Him.

Connecting Others to God.

Father,
May you in this New Year keep our mission before us - May our lives reflect Christ and may the Holy Spirit draw many back to you.
Amen


bym





Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Clean Slate - Bonita Y. McCoy


New beginnings are everywhere - 
The thoughts of  fresh starts, renewing commitments, or trying something new are popping up all over.
That happens when the New Year comes. 

We are encouraged to consider it as a clean slate. 

Today, I want us to consider our life in Christ as that clean slate. 

How amazing that once we accept Jesus's payment for our sins we don't have to drag those sins around with us anymore.

We are forgiven.

We are changed. 

2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that if we are united with Christ we are a new creation. The old life is gone - and see - a new life has begun 
(The Voice Bible).

As we move into the new year of 2017, let us remember the sins of our past are covered, and today, we have a clean slate walking with Christ. 

Father,
Let us dwell on your goodness and not on our mistakes as we step into this new year. Thank you for the blood of Jesus that paid the price and made the way for us back to you. May we fill our slates this year with more of you.
Amen

bym