Tag Archives: Christian growth

We Can Make Better Choices

Adam and Eve made a tragic choice with global consequences. They didn’t do it because they were bad people. God declared them very good from the beginning. That “very good” included their power to choose to believe and trust God or to believe and trust the liar and his lies.

But God’s love didn’t give up on Adam and Eve. He told them the consequences of their sin, yet included His promise of the One who would come to “crush Satan’s head.” He also provided the animal skins to cover their now-exposed nakedness, making the first animal sacrifice Himself.

We sometimes choose hurtful rather than helpful actions too, but making bad choices doesn’t make us bad people. God doesn’t give up on us either. He allows consequences so we will learn. He keeps loving us. And just because we made wrong choices or even if we have developed a habit of those ways doesn’t mean we can’t choose a better way today.

God provided forgiveness through Jesus Christ His Son by His sacrificial death on the cross. Each time I fall short, I will choose to receive forgiveness again by confessing my sin and believing God’s promise to forgive.

It’s never too late to make better choices. God gives us grace to get back on the right path.

(Picture courtesy of Pinterest)

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Do What It Says

A friend and I discussed how to pray for a mutual friend who reads Scripture every day. She said, “We could pray that they can and will apply their Bible reading to their life.”

“Oh yes,” I thought. “That will really help.”

Then the Holy Spirit whispered in my heart, “How are you doing in that department?”

Uh-oh! How many times have I read, for example, Proverbs 3:5 (“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding”) and went on trusting in what I thought was best? And how about Philippians 4:8 (“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, …noble, …right, …pure, …lovely, …admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things”)? Do I think about those things or about how irritated I am about seemingly unsolvable yard problems? I almost know Ephesians 4:29 by heart (“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen). So why do I hear complaining and criticism coming out of my mouth?

Image from Pinterest.

Oh Jesus, I’m struggling to practice what I read too! I need to obey James 1:22 (“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says”). Please let Your Holy Spirit help me as I turn from my own foolish way onto Your right paths. Thank You for Philippians 1:6 (“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”). Amen.

Bible Verses from the NIV.

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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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Perfect Words

Your Words are perfect, Lord—flawless, pure, absolute, and true. They tell me of Your love and about who You are. They lead me in right paths and will bring me home to You when it is the right time. Therefore, I will bow before You and humbly receive the spiritual nourishment, the knowledge, and the guidance of Your Word. (James 1:21)

I come to Your Word for refuge from the lies of the enemy.

“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”

Proverbs 30:5 NIV

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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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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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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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