Category Archives: Christian

Return of a Wandering Mind

As I began my morning walk, I pondered my many failures. The Holy Spirit seemed to say, “Don’t go there again.” Then I turned my mind toward gratitude for forgiveness, the beauty of nature around me, and for friends and family. I could have walked on with thanksgiving and praise for spring flowers, singing birds, warmer temperatures, and baby calves.

But I didn’t. Instead, I let my mind wander back to promises I hadn’t kept and my many slips into people-pleasing. I remembered when I had first learned the joy of repentance and of receiving forgiveness. I had promised God that from then on, with His help, I would live in obedience to Him. I would say, “Not my will, but Yours be done, Lord.”

However, many times I’d gone my own way instead of leaning on His power to overcome evil tendencies. I poured out my heart to Jesus and walked quietly for a few minutes. A hymn from childhood bubbled up into my memory: “Are ye able to remember when a thief lifts up his eyes that his pardoned soul is worthy of a home in paradise?” *

My joyful response: “YES! And I also remember that I’ve confessed these sins and received Your forgiveness and cleansing. (1 John 1:9) Thank You sweet Holy Spirit for reminding me. Thank You God for being so patient with me.”

“Lord, You have given me another day to live for Your glory. Oh, let me do it well! Amen.”

*Verse 2 of the hymn, “’Are Ye Able?’ Said the Master,” Words by Earl Marlatt, Music by Harry S. Mason. An excellent performance of this hymn is at https://youtu.be/eFI90wvB8JU .

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What a Creative Creator!

Sequoyah State Park, Oklahoma, USA

The leaves of the oak tree noisily applaud the arrival of spring.
The pointy touch of pine needles reminds me that You are a God who feels and cares.
Splotches of shade splash the sun-drenched pathway.
What a God You are!
We feel wind and waves, see rocks and wildflowers.
Near and far, hills and valleys, woods and fields litter the landscape.
So many birds, both glorious and plain!
Such vast numbers, yet not a sparrow falls without Your notice.
With fruit and vegetables, herbs and tree bark You provide
Food and medicine in this beautiful, though broken world.
Beyond all this, You give us the gift of laughter to brighten our faces
When we’re tempted to gloom.
You spoke forth all creation as the morning stars sang together,
And You hold them all together by the power of Your Word.
Indeed, what a God You Are!

Scripture references:

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” (Hebrews 1:3 New International Version)
“What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? (Job 38:6-7 New Living Translation)
“What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.” (Matthew 10:29 New Living Translation)

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Filed under Christian, Poems and Songs, Wonderful God

Sing a Joyful Song

At this time of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I remember the Easter hymns we sang in church as I grew up. I loved “Christ Arose” partly because of the building excitement in the chorus:

“Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes;
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!” *
(Words and music by Rev. Robert Lowry, 1826-1899.)

Now that I’m older, I value more and more the truth of the song. Jesus Christ conquered death, and He offers true eternal life to those who choose to receive and follow Him.

Christ is risen! Hallelujah! He is risen indeed!

“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20 NIV)


“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3 NIV)

*Several performances of this song are available on YouTube. I liked this one by the Klondike Baptist Church Praise Team: https://youtu.be/UYcEH6vzVas

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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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Rescue

When our boat overturned, the river started to pull me downstream. Then one of the men reached to pull me out of the rushing water. I felt his strong arms lifting me up.

Jesus, when the world pulls at me and I feel as though I’ve lost my footing, please rescue me! Lift me up with Your strong promises which reach out with arms of faithfulness.

My church children’s group used to sing, “Safe am I in the hollow of His hand. Sheltered o’er in His love forever more. No ill can harm me. No foe alarm me, for He keeps both day and night.”*
Lord, I will trust You no matter what happens. I can find rest in You. (See Psalm 62:1)

Psalm 145:13-14 “…The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.” (NIV)

*“Safe Am I”; Mildred Leightner Dillon, author; © 1938 by Wm. Dillon (See YouTube https://youtu.be/XPM3ERHPV9M to listen to the whole chorus.

Photo courtesy photos-public-domain.com

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Greater Joy

In hope I pray: Answer me when I call to you, O God who declares me innocent. Free me from my troubles. Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

[God declares me innocent because I trust in the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ, instead of in my own righteousness.]

The psalmist instructs: Offer sacrifices in the right spirit, and trust the LORD.

[The right spirit is “willingly and joyously”—1 Chronicles 29:17. And we are to “Trust, rely on and have confidence in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and feed (securely) on His faithfulness”—Psalm 37:3 Amplified Bible.]

With joy I offer You praise, Lord God: You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.

(Image is Public Domain.)

[The joy of abundant harvests and new wine lasts only until they are used up. God gives lasting joy—joy in His presence and pleasures at His right hand forever more—Psalm 16:11.]

(See Psalm 4:1,5,7 -NLT)

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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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Skip the Bitter Fruit

For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the Lord. They rejected my [Wisdom’s] advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way.” (Proverbs 1:29-31, NLT)

The bitter fruit of living my own way– Hmm, not my idea of a great lunch. So I need to choose to fear the Lord today and listen to wisdom’s advice and correction. But how? What does that look like in practical living?

  • Maybe to receive this day from God’s hand and trust in God’s love for me and in His power to accomplish His purposes.
  • Or to let go of trying to control or struggling to prove I’m right.
  • Or perhaps to go God’s way as He teaches me in His Word, biblical teaching, and counsel, instead of leaning on my own understanding. (See Proverbs 3:5)

Proverbs 1:33 gives blessed assurance to those who listen to Wisdom: “But all who listen to me [Wisdom] will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.” (NLT)

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