Category Archives: Christian

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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Sing Praises to Our King

1 Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.
2 How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth!

In these times of turmoil, Lord, how good it is to remember Your sovereignty!

6 Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.

I will sing praises when I count my blessings because every good gift I have comes from You.

I know I need to sing praises when I encounter trouble because You are refining my character, but too often I forget to do that. Please help me, Holy Spirit!

When I see the trees and rocks and flowers and animals, I will sing praises to You, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Our hearts rejoice and sing praises when we remember Your unending love and Your mighty power.

7 For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.

I will sing praise to You because You are Sovereign God and King of all.

8 God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.
9 The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham, for the kings of the earth belong to God; he is greatly exalted.

(From Psalm 47 NIV) (Underline emphasis mine.)

What a good reminder this psalm is to me when I’m tempted to anger or discouragement over national and world events! The kings of the earth belong to God, and God reigns over the nations. I can trust Him no matter what happens.

(Psalm 47:1 picture from Pinterest)

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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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Amazing!

Lord God, You know me—who I am inside. You know where I am and what’s going on around me. You also know these things about the past and the future.

Amazing Knowledge!

Holy God, Your everlasting love surrounds and upholds me. You protect me and grant me shelter. You gave Your Son who gave Himself willingly to the cross, so my sins could be carried away from me as far as the east is from the west.

Amazing Grace!

Merciful God, You take me by the hand and lead me where I should go.

Amazing Love!

Savior God, You give me eternal life. No one can ever take me away from You.

Amazing Joy!

Isaiah 41:13 “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” NIV

Psalm 23:3 “He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” NIV

John 10:28 “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me.” New Living Translation

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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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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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