Category Archives: God’s Work in our Lives

Comments on how God works in the Christian’s life.

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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Today on the Journey (from May 2018)

Journey Toward Wholeness Reblog 2/18/2021

            God has given me a new day, another chance to “follow the Holy Spirit in every part of my life” (Gal. 5:25), and I’m thankful. Back in the dark days of depression and panic, I didn’t welcome the days as opportunities. Instead, I struggled through them wishing I could feel better and feeling afraid I never would.

            Now I do feel better. I continue to need medicine to keep brain chemicals in balance, but I do very well as long as I take it. The “down” time was miserable, and I don’t recommend such experiences for anyone. But looking back, I can see how God used it to give my soul a boost. It triggered a change in my thinking patterns so that I could apply God’s Word to my mind and my life more. My faith in Jesus has grown, and I’m walking with Him more closely.

            And now I can encourage those who are still going through extra tough times with anxiety/depression. I can say, “Maybe God is preparing a fresh start for you too. Or maybe He’s preparing you for something new. Whatever He’s doing, you can be sure God is working. We can trust Him.”

Thank You, Father, for today, another day to walk with Jesus and live for Him. Amen.

2016 GNP Opitz photo

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Changing Thinking

When someone suggested I call customer support about one of our office machines, I grumbled, “They’re never any help.” I added in my mind: I’ve had nothing but trouble with that stupid machine from the beginning! Also, communicating with tech support totally frustrates me.

Really? Am I thinking that people should immediately solve the problems and if not, I need to get angry? Or do I believe that because I’ve had difficulties before, things can’t change? Maybe faulty thinking is behind my irritation. How can I change?

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2 New Living Translation).

I can start with prayer. Lord, please help me! I have harbored anger and frustration in my heart. which have come out in angry words. I also felt resentful toward people who seemed to get better service than I did. I confess these things as sin. Please forgive me.

I could follow up with choosing God’s way over mine. I choose to “cease from anger and forsake wrath because it tends only to evil-doing” (Psalm 37:8–Amplified Bible). I will “put on” the new me which is being re-created in the likeness of Christ (Ephesians 4:24). Now I can forgive others and choose to overlook someone’s fault. I will walk in an attitude of generosity which rejoices when others are blessed.

As I follow Him, Jesus leads me to experience abundant life. What a relief to be able to accomplish my tasks without tripping over my old non-renewed mind!

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Our Tailor’s Pattern

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern,…just so you shall make it.’” (Exodus 25:1, 8-9 NKJV)

God is shaping me according to the pattern of Christ.

Like a tailor, He cuts away the material that doesn’t fit the pattern. As I yield to His work, things like bad attitudes, jealousy, outbursts of anger, impurity, quarreling and other sins can be discarded. (See Galatians 5:19-21.) Also, all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander must be snipped off and trashed (Ephesians 4:31).

Then His Spirit removes and adds and shapes (when I obey Him) so I match Christ’s likeness. Colossians 3:9-10, Amplified, says, “Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old (unregenerate) self with its evil practices, and have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it.”

Finally, as a quilter would, He fits me together with other believers to make for Himself a work of both function and beauty. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV)

Thank You, God. Amen.

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Journey Re-blog 8 -Prayers in the Valley

In my sojourn through the Valley of Anxiety, I struggled through sleepless nights and shaky days, and regrets often surfaced. In late November, I wrote this prayer:

Dear Lord, You are God, the only God. You are the One who has ultimate control. I want to fit into Your plans, for they are good. You have always been faithful to me. Please forgive me for the times I’ve turned away and looked longingly at what I thought might have been or what used to be. Too often I’ve run after what looked good from a human perspective instead of trusting Your goodness. Please forgive and cleanse as you have promised (1 John 1:9).

2015 National Park in California

Lord Jesus, I remember Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His creation—created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”* And I feel so ashamed of the many times I’ve missed opportunities to do the good works prepared ahead of time for me to do. Lord God, please work in me according to Your promise in Philippians 2:13—“For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to will and to act for His good purpose.”*  Then I can take advantage of the opportunities which You give me today instead of missing them and tomorrow wallowing in regret.      Amen.

*Holman Christian Standard Bible

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Cast Your Burden

Today I remembered a couple of unconfessed sins from my college years. At first I went back to my old way of thinking: “Oh I wish I could go back and change my attitudes and actions so I wouldn’t be ashamed of them when I face Jesus at judgment.” Then I remembered a certain story a Christian leader told me:

“A man carrying a load on his back walked along a dirt road on his way to town. A farmer in a horse-drawn wagon offered him a ride. So the man climbed up beside the farmer, and they continued on. The farmer asked the man why he didn’t put his burden down in the wagon bed.

“The man replied, ‘Oh sir, you were so kind to give me a ride! I couldn’t ask you to carry my pack also.’”

Ah, yes. When Jesus died for me, He paid for those two sins also. And 1 John 1:9 is still true: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (NIV)

I don’t have to carry around that shame. I can lay it down in God’s wagon bed of grace.

Colossians 2:13-14 “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. 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.” (NIV)
Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” (NKJV)

 

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Refuge in the Storm

I don’t like going through difficulties, but I suppose I couldn’t know God as my refuge if I never went through a storm. Jesus, You are my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust (Psalm 91:12). Today I will trust You, God, as my refuge.

Psalm 139:9-10 “If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast.”
Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Both verses NIV)
No matter where we are, God will guide us and hold onto us. He will strengthen and help us and hold us up. So why do I whine, complain, or try to run from the troubles God allows for me? Do I imagine that God is going to train me and use me without getting me out of my comfort zone? Or do I cling to unbelief so that these sure promises become just words and wishful thinking in my life? Sadly, sometimes I do. These foolish thoughts, bad attitudes, and lack of faith don’t please God, nor do they bring Him glory. So I repent. I turn from these old ways and choose to believe the truth of God’s Word.
Gracious Father, Your ways really are better than mine. Mighty Holy Spirit, please help me change. Amen.

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