Category Archives: Christian Living

Can Anyone Win Against God?

“Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome” (Genesis 32: 28, NIV). So said the “man” who wrestled with Jacob.

How could Jacob win against God? Maybe God let him win. Or maybe the victory was Jacob overcoming his own stubbornness of doing his own way instead of submitting to God’s ways.

I struggle myself sometimes with that submission. I tend to try to manipulate people or circumstances to make things turn out the way I think they should. Maybe I’ve even tried at times to manipulate God.

I’m so glad that You, God, won’t allow that! You are sovereign, all wise, good, and faithful. Your plans are always better than mine. Sometimes I forget.

(Image from Pinterest)

A hymn from my childhood by Eliza E. Hewitt (Verse 3):

“Give Me thy heart,” says the Spirit divine;“ All that thou hast to My keeping resign; Grace more abounding is Mine to impart—Make full surrender and give Me thy heart.”

(Lyrics from Timeless Truths https://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Give_Me_Thy_Heart/ )
(A trio sings the hymn on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kgv7cvnyaIg )

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Put Away Anger

When my anger flares up because someone offends me, maybe I could humble myself and remember that You, Lord, are God. No one and nothing, whether high or low or near or far or spiritual or physical, compares to You.

Lord God, Maker of heaven and earth, You are more powerful and glorious than 10 billion times 10 billion suns. I can’t imagine Your greatness. Teach me to fear You alone because You alone are the life-giving God. You poured Your infinite power and wisdom and love into the body of Jesus (Colossians 2:9)!

The person who offended me and I are mere human beings, while from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. I will quiet my soul and trust You to make things right in Your view and in Your time.

“The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” (Proverbs 19:23 NIV)

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Trust Jesus Start to Finish

Jesus, You are the author and finisher of my faith. As You begin Your work in me, You teach me to set my mind on things above and on the Holy Spirit. You empower me to end a mind set on what I want or what might please others.

You start my mind remembering what I need to remember, such as Your mercy, forgiveness, and love which extends all the way to Calvary. You are the author of the sound mind that forgets what You have forgotten like forgiven sin carried away at the cross and the shame of imperfections which are covered by Your love.

(Verse graphic from (Pinterest.)

Lord, You have begun a good work in me and will continue it until the day of Your return when I will see You face to face and will be like You.

I could never thank You or praise You enough for all Your works. Let Your name be glorified forever and ever. Amen!

Hebrews 12:2 “[Looking] unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith….”

Philippians 1:6 “[Being] confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

1 John 3:2 “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

(Scripture quotes are from the New King James Version.)

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Regret Syndrome

“Do you suffer from regret syndrome?” the pastor asked.

“Well, now that you mention it, I probably do,” I thought. I’ve struggled with regret for many years. Am I the only one?

A few weeks ago, I decided I’d fooled around with regret long enough. I imagined coming to a stop sign with “Nailed to the Cross” printed on it in the middle of the road.

I wrote, “Every time I’m tempted to go back to regret, I can think, ‘That one was nailed to the cross too. I don’t have to go down “Regret Road” anymore. I can get back to following Jesus.”

But what about actions I just wish I could go back and change—not necessarily sins? Perhaps I’m forgetting that God works even those things into His plans and purposes for good.

So when some old sin or foolish deed flashes into my mind, the old me might say, “Shame on me!” But the new me, transformed by Christ, would question, “What? Did that one slip out when the rest were nailed to the cross?” and that new-in-Christ me would sing for joy because of the truth of Colossians 2:13-14: “You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.” New Living Translation

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Let Go of the Old

Didn’t they even read my e-mail?” I fumed. “And they used to notify me when they answered my questions.” I hadn’t heard a word from the help desk since I’d submitted the request weeks ago. I looked on the company’s website and found a “status of your request” area. I located a rather unhelpful answer under their “closed” notation.

On the website, I discovered an address and considered firing off a couple of complaints to let them know of my irritation.


Then I remembered that I’m learning to “take off” anger, among other things, as I would take off old clothes, and to “put on” the new me that is created to be like Christ. With the conversation online, I had time to calm down, ask the Holy Spirit’s help, and edit before I asked for further, and I hoped better, instruction.

I may or may not get the help I need for that issue, but I’m learning a little more about obeying Jesus.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV

“Cease from anger and forsake wrath; fret not yourself — it tends only to evildoing.” Psalm 37:8 AMP

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Dump the Regrets

“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16 NIV).”

One type of arrow, regret, targeted a weak spot in my shield for years. Now I’m learning to protect myself from it.

With the reminders of sin for which I’ve already repented, I can just mark them forgiven and let them go.

But many of those arrows catch fire from coals of ‘I wish’ or ‘if only.’ For example, “I wish I had made wiser relationship choices in college,” or “If only I hadn’t made so many stupid mistakes about a career, then life would be more worthwhile now.”

Wonder what Jesus would say about those regrets? He might say to me, “My child, do you think I have no power to work even your failures and mistakes into My plans and purposes? Can I not do what I said in Romans 8:28 and take these, along with all the rest of ‘the good, the bad, and the ugly’ and make something better than what anyone could have imagined?”

I’m so silly!

“Oh, right, Jesus. I must have thought You and the Father and the Holy Spirit were wringing Your hands and moaning, ‘If only she hadn’t done that! Now what will We do?’”

Then we would laugh.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)


“But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me: ‘O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?’ declares the Lord. ‘Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.’” (Jeremiah 18:4-6)

(Both verses New International Version)

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Life Overflowing

Niagara Falls – September 2018

God offers me abundant life through Jesus Christ. But if I stubbornly cling to my own way, and don’t listen to Jesus and don’t obey Him, my life limps along in mediocrity. In fact, the more I try to take control of my life, the more “the mediocre” turns to “the pits.” (Matthew 7:24-26)

However, if I listen to Jesus and seek Him in His Word and try to obey what He says, I grow in His love and find more of His goodness—more abundance in life.

Therefore, let me choose to listen and obey.

John 10:10 “…I [Jesus] have come that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” (Amplified Bible)

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land….” (New Living Translation)

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Thought Replacement Therapy

God has told us to bring every thought captive to obey Jesus Christ. But how can I do that? My thinking patterns have become knotted and twisted around experiences, people, and natural tendencies. I can drag the whole bundle to Jesus. When I do that, He shows me loose ends protruding from the tangles.

Then the Holy Spirit and I pull one free from the bunch, straighten it out and make it obey Christ. For example, I don’t need to hold onto a bad attitude about some disappointed expectation. When I start to stew, I can say to myself, “No. That’s the old way. I’m new in Christ. I’ll let go of the disappointment and rejoice in Him.” And the next time I think about what happened or didn’t happen, I’ll stop and remind myself that I’m rejoicing in the Lord.

When that thought thread is brought into submission, we can start pulling on another one.

“…[We] take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” –2 Corinthians 10:5
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” –2 Corinthians 5:17
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
(Scripture verses are from the New International Version)

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Written on His Hands

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” (Isaiah 49:15-16 NIV)

Thank You Jesus, for going to the cross where my name was engraved on Your hands, maybe not on the palms–-with crucifixion, the Romans pounded spikes through the base of the hand where it is joined to the wrist. But You suffered and died for my sin there.

That reminds me of the hymn, “Nailed to the Cross,” which I learned as a young person:

(Chorus)
They are nailed to the cross; they are nailed to the cross.
Oh how much He was willing to bear!
With what anguish and loss, Jesus went to the cross,
And He carried my sin with Him there.*

Thank You, God, for forgiving all our sins and for never forgetting us.


“…He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14) “……God has said,’Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5) (Both NIV)

*Hymn author: Carrie Ellis Breck (1899) Music and lyrics at:

https://hymnary.org/text/there_was_one_who_was_willing_to_die_in

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Do It Today!

In Jacob’s dream, the Lord stood at the top of a stairway and said, “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go…” (Genesis 28:15).

When I read this verse one morning, I believe God said to me, “My child, Today I am with you. Quit wishing you had believed that back when you were in college, or 20 years ago or whatever past date comes to mind. Believe it today!

Today, when you hear My voice, do not harden your heart (Hebrews 3:7). Your mind knows you can’t go back in time even one minute, but sometimes your heart rebels against that fact. So choose today to forget the past and press on day by day remembering My presence with you (Philippians 3:12-14).

[“Not that I have already …been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. …But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal….” (Philippians 3:12-14 NIV)]

Jacob’s Ladder, c.1490 (oil on panel) by French School, (15th century); oil on panel Musee du Petit Palais, Avignon, France

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