Good Morning, God

Religion, Faith, Cross, Light, Hand

Good Morning everyone,

Sometimes life doesn’t go the way we want it, right? This weekend I had a back issue pop up again, just when I thought it had so improved. No worries, I am good now, but it did force me to lay low for a couple of days and let John wait on me. Instantly, I was angry about it. “This again? There are things I want to do this weekend!” But you know what? So many people have it worse. And there is always something to praise God for. Always.

So this morning, as I rolled out of bed and put my feet on the floor slowly, to see if my back would let me get up, I realized something. I have so many other blessings! I have this home, a beloved husband, family and great children, a wonderful church, an upcoming wedding where I will gain another son! How dare the enemy try to make me focus on what I wish was different. It’s great to focus on what is the same…each day. And what IS the same every day? Every day is a day that God loves us. Every day is a fresh new day to love Him more and praise Him more than we did yesterday!

So…What do I want to say, at the end of today, that I accomplished? I want to say that I filled it up with praise to God. There are so many minutes and hours to fill! Isn’t it great to have those hours?

Read this beautiful verse and feel David’s love for our Father. In this chapter, David’s spirit is failing. He needs hope and direction, so he goes to the unfailing source, God. That’s a perfect way to start each day, to bask in God’s love and declare that He is the One we trust with our day.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8 NIV

Dear God,

Thank You for always loving me and guiding me, when I do not understand things and when I need encouragement. You are the best! Thank You for this day that You gave me. Thank You for my blessings of husband, family and friends. Please send comfort and guidance to the people stranded in Afghanistan. Let them feel You near and feel Your love and our prayers. Please bring them home. Please guide our leaders to make good decisions for them. Protect them, Lord, as only You can do. We ask these things in Your name because we know for sure You can do them. Amen.

May your day be filled and felt with God’s love.

Christina

We Need Each Other

In my devotions today, I read in Exodus 17 that Moses was praying on the mountain while Israel was at war. Just that thought stopped me in my tracks. Up on the mountain, seeking God, is where we should all be when we are in trouble, isn’t it? Moses had his arms stretched high as he prayed to his Father, but his arms grew weary and dropped. Aaron and Hur came to his side and held them up again. Isn’t that just like what our friends do for us? They support us in prayer. 

When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. Exodus 17:12 NIV

Did you notice in this verse, that they helped him to rest and made his hands steady? So should our hands be in prayer to God. Steady and always raised to Him who is able. Sometimes we need encouragement and support from our friends, though, just as Moses did. Know what’s cool? Moses did not ask for help, but His men supported him at just the right time.

Prayer props up people, plus, a holy purpose provides people with possibilities.

(I just had to have some fun with the letter ‘p’!) Seriously, though, Just as Aaron and Hur did for Moses when they propped him up, we are the prop that someone needs! How special of a job do we have! Think about that. WE are the answer to a need. We serve God well when we respond to a request for help. But, oh so much better and obedient, that we take it upon ourselves, to the glory of God, to seek out someone whose need we have the ability to fill:)

By the way, what I didn’t reveal….Whenever Moses’ hands were up, Israel was winning the war. When his hands were down, the Amalekites were winning. Know what? This tells us that prayer can change things. We must always remember, though, that GOD has the ‘upper hand.’

As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. Exodus 17:11 NIV

Dear Father,

We know that we can go to You in prayer and You will listen. We feel Your love and care surrounding us. Help us to surround others with love and care by meeting their needs and praying with them. Thank You for being our God and our friend. We do not deserve being loved by You but we praise You for Your goodness. Help us to do Your will and be a prop for someone else. We are Your willing servants. We love You so much! Amen

With love from the Father to You,

Christina

Our Enemy Has Scissors

White Male, 3D Model, Isolated, 3D

I know that sounds like a weird title, but that is the thought that came to me when I was reading my Bible today. I could not think of a better way to describe the thought that our enemy wants to cut all of our ties to the Lord. He is relentless and sly in his attacks.

He wants to cut our:

1. Confidence in God-

The opposite of confidence seems to me to be doubt. Because God can do the impossible and does not change, we really have no reason to doubt Him. Our confidence is sure and secure in the solid rock that never, ever varies. The enemy would like to cut that tie. He wants us to NOT have faith in God, so we will listen to HIS lies. Then, he can make us fear and doubt things. Fear is of the devil. It comes when he cuts our ties to God by tempting us to doubt God.

 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.2 Cor. 10:5

2. Communication with God-

The two-way communication we have with our Lord strengthens our relationship with Him. Through that bond, He can teach us and mold us and help us navigate our lives to the glory of God. And therein lies the problem, according to the enemy. He does not want us to glorify God, but ourselves. He tries to make us glorify ourselves and neglect the bond of communication with God. When he tempts us to rely on our own ability, we fail, and we may not rely on talking to God as much.

 He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.John 8:44

3. Commitment to God-

The enemy wants to cut our determination to stick with God. In hard times, he is only too happy to lie to us and make us think God has left us. God NEVER leaves us! The devil will also distract us with wordly things. He will lie and say other things warrant the love that is meant for God. He will tell us material things will make us happy, when in reality, the more we get, the more we want. (Been there, done that!) The enemy will do whatever it takes to make us not prioritize a right relationship with God.

James 4:4 …You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

Why does he do all these things? Because he wants our soul to belong to Him. He wants to take us from God, not because He loves us, but because he hates God and He wants to ruin us. That’s why he chases us with scissors, to cut us apart from God.

What to do? Pray always about everything! Also… we should chase God as hard as the enemy chases us. Let’s pursue God with all that we have each day. Our God is able to keep us supplied with peace and His wisdom and love and that will never change.

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a great day. With all that’s going on in the world, remember to communicate with God often, have confidence that He is in control and commit to keep on keeping on with Him. It WILL be worth it all! It is worth it now, too! We serve an awesome God!

With love from the Father to you,

Christina

A Sea of Red Words

Bible, Hand, Designate, Read, Christian

I am reading through the new Testament in the Bible. Right now I am in Luke. It is packed with Jesus’ recorded words. I love seeing all the red words. I love imagining that I am in that time period listening to Jesus talk. I love REALLY getting the meaning. I love that God’s Word is so powerful and changes hearts like mine. I love the sea of red in Luke’s book and many others, especially this passage in Matthew where Jesus tells us a story with a purpose.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27 NIV

I don’t know about you, but I want to be like the wise man. See how God’s Word inspires change in us? Real change, not a temporary fix like much of today’s self-help books. God’s Word penetrates our souls. No other words can do that!

Isn’t it amazing to know we are reading words that God inspired and knew we would be reading today? His Word is so powerful! As far as red words in the Bible… There has been a debate in certain circles, about whether Jesus’ words should be red, because the WHOLE Bible is the inspired Word of God. I was shocked the other day when I went to buy a journaling Bible and had trouble finding one with red words. There weren’t many!

Having said all that, it is imperative we hold precious the red words of Jesus, but revere and hold precious the entire Bible. Every verse is valuable! Every verse is a part of a story God wrote with real people that He made…with events that He planned or allowed or used to tell the Story of Salvation.

In my simple mind, I think Jesus wants us to really hear what He is saying and why. It is so selfless of Him to try so hard to get us to see the truth of what our lives should be all about…and it is not riches or popularity or being perfect. It about us being imperfect but coming to know Him, God and the Holy Spirit. They are our riches. We want to bow to THEIR opinion.

Dear God,

Thank You for always teaching me. It seems like I am re-learning and firming up things I think I should have down by now. You know me best so You know I am trying to be more like Jesus, but I do fail. Thank You for loving me enough to send Your Son to save me. You are my teasure. I love You so much! Amen.

May you enjoy some red words today and always and hold your Bible, God’s Words, as a treasure above all others:)

Christina

The Rich Fool.

FreeBibleimages :: Parable of the Rich Fool :: Jesus tells a parable about  an ambitious but foolish rich man (Luke 12:13-21)

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.  He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Luke 12: 16-17 NIV

As a child, I loved stories, especially fables, because they had a point or a warning of what NOT to do. THe imaginative stories made a point about how an animals or person’s character, whether greedy or impatient or patient or wise affects a situation. They teach a lesson.

To learn life lessons, the best and true resource is God’s Word. It is our hope and is vital for our learning journey. Jesus makes it easy to learn by telling us parables. He is our authority, so reading a story of His means we am getting the “scoop” straight from the One who knows our hearts! His stories parallel real life and get us to think about our choices line up, or don’t, with what God expects.

In Luke 12, Jesus tells a story about a man with a great harvest who did the wrong thing. The Parable of the Rich Fool goes like this… A rich man had an abundant harvest. The problem? He did not have enough storage for all of it. He decided that he was going to tear down his small barns to build bigger ones, to store all of his abundance. That way, he could rest in comfort knowing he had all he needed for years to come. He wanted an easy life!

That hit me like a ton of bricks! We ALL want easy lives, don’t we? We definitely store up things to that end. After hearing this parable, I am thinking our goal needs to be one of wanting easier lives for OTHERS. What do we have stored up that others can use? How tight do we hold onto things that make our lives easier and maybe a bit lazy? I am preaching to myself here, so no judgement.

A personal note…the backstory to why these verses spoke to me so strongly…

A few months ago, I started having a strong desire to get rid of all my extra stuff in the basement. I started to realize someone could be using those old chairs or curtains and blankets, craft supplies and dishes and clothes. What if I have them all away and trusted God to supply my future needs? Should I be saving so much? NO!

Meanwhile, a friend of mine started doing a “death cleaning.” She is in good health but is doing a certain process of cleaning. This is an idea based on ridding ourselves of things others will not want when we are gone. (You can look up Swedish Death Cleaning.)

If you think about it…Our abundance of things can help others today, instead of being a burden for others to go through after we are gone. Little did my friend know how freeing it would be! When she posted on facebook about it, I had to tell her I was cleaning out my house too and donated several car loads to Salvation Army. It IS freeing! What a bonus!

Both my friend Pam and I feel this is a God thing. We feel God is trying to do a good work in us and it requires us to follow His leading. It is rather exciting to follow God and not be sure of where He is leading! This is NO credit to us at all, as He is the only One worthy of praise.

From the only authority, God’s Word…We just are not meant to store up treasures on earth, says God. Here is what God said to the rich man in the parable…

But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:20-21 NIV

Jesus makes the point with this parable…We are to be rich toward God, rich in what HE desires. That is a matter for prayer, for sure! As we navigate this sometimes confusing life course, I hope we appreciate the wisdom of God and Jesus here. Isn’t it awesome to have His recorded words to read whenever we want to? Isn’t it great to be told the absolute truth that matters? Jesus tells us what God expects of us. Does anything matter more?

Dear God,

There just aren’t enough words or the right words to tell You how much I appreciate having Your Word as my guide. You know how imperfect I am and selfish and greedy I can be. Though I will never understand how You could go to such lengths to save us, I will always love You for it, as best I can. Thank You for showing me how to please You, through Jesus’ parables. I love You so much! Amen.

I love you all with the love of the Father! Gotta go clean the basement, not even joking!:)

Christina

I Can Fix This Myself (or can I?)

Error, Www, Internet, Calculator, Server

Fridays are a great day for encouragement! You have made it through the week! That is no small thing sometimes, right? Trials can drain us, especially if we try to handle things on our own, without God. When we do that…and I am admitting I do that often, as I have always had an “I can do it myself” attitude…we tend to mess up or go a different direction than God intended.

Then, we end up needing help. We may have to back up a step or two and talk to God about what went wrong. Only God can truly FIX us or set us straight again. I would like to have that power myself, but that is not God’s plan.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5

I really like this verse and refer to it often. Why? Because it amazes me that God has a plan for our individual life, wayyy before we are born! God knows what He wants to use us for and what things He will allow or not allow in our lives. He knows ALL. When we try to do things all on our own and get turned around or broken in the process, God is there to help.

Like children, we can’t fix broken things or messes.
And like a Father, God says,”Come get your hug and we’ll do this together.

God doesn’t just know how to fix the problem, He knows how to fix US. He knows what we need to get through the trial. He knows we are imperfect and need Him. That’s why He stays close!

The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:17-19 NIV

Dear God,

Thank You for being the answer to all of my needs. Thank You for loving me, even though I forget to ask You first about some important things. Show me as I read Your Word, what Your will is for each day. Remind me to stop and ask what You think about my plans. You know best! I love You so much! Amen

With love from our Lord to you, have a father-focused Friday!

Christina

Are These Things Mine?

Showroom, Shop, Home Decor

(This is a free picture from pixabay, of a collection of treasures.)

Near the end of Luke 12, Jesus is talking about being ready for when the Lord comes back, much like a servant who is always ready for his master. Servants are to be watchful and to be getting ready for the master’s return. Are WE watching and ready? Am I? What does that look like in today’s world? As always, when reading God’s Word, we want to be on the right side of things, don’t we? So, I thought about this verse hard.

Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning,  like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Luke 12:35-37 NIV

If we are watching out for someone to come, we are expecting, anticipating, looking forward to their arrival. When a guest comes to our house, don’t we make sure the house is clean and we have good food and a bed and maybe entertainment planned, just for them? We want our guest to be comfortable and feel loved and wanted. What if we transfer that to Jesus?

I am not sure HIs main concern is that we have a nice place for Him, so what really does He expect of us? How do we make Him feel loved and wanted then? What does He want to see when He comes back? This verse spoke to me. Jesus told the crowd:

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48(b) NIV

Just thinking off the top of my head, but…If we are looking forward to His coming and Jesus told us to be ready, we can prepare how?

The first thing that comes to my mind is to see earthly things as just that, earthly things.

It’s about perspective. I am not even sure why this is so pressed into my heart right now, but the verse above makes me think we need to hold loosely the things of this world. After all, if we hold tightly to the things of this world, doesn’t that mean we are setting up our kingdom here? Can’t we hold tighter to things of God if we see heavenly things, especially a relationship with our Savior and God as our most prized treasure?

Secondly, and this is something my husband and I discussed…

Not only do we need to hold loosely the things of this world, but we need to let go of them if the Lord desires.

Personal note…this just happened yesterday… I looked at our collection of antique iron toys and wondered if it is okay to collect them. I like them a lot, but when I pass by the shelf sometimes, I think … “How many people could we feed if we sold them?” When I mentioned this to my husband, he said, “But you like them.” I replied, “Yes, but would I give them up if I needed to?” This brought on a discussion. We came to the conclusion that we would not sell them right now, but we will sell them if the Lord moves us. We are ready to do so. I think that is the whole point…

We are willing to give up or give in as God directs, because earthly stuff just shouldn’t matter more than God.

Thirdly, and this is a broad idea and covers a lot of ground. We are to be ready to do what our Master wants, no matter what it is.

That is probably the most freeing thing ever. I have not always felt this way, I admit. I was in control of how much I gave God. I gave enough that I felt I didn’t appear too selfish with God’s blessings. But you know what? I don’t make the rules. HE does. Also, I can’t fool God. He sees my heart. He knows if I am holding back.

What I got out of this passage and I hope you can relate…We are entrusted with much, to do God’s will with it. Our stuff is not ours, really. We just hold tight to it as if it is. How we use it, share it, hold it, appreciate it and offer it back to God is an offering to Him. I hope this doesn’t sound too “preachy” because it is not meant that way. I am excited that Jesus is coming back and I want us all to be ready!

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for helping me see that waiting and watching for You is a big part of my job here on earth. All I know is…I need to trust You enough to let go of earthly stuff. I need to be ready for Your return. Help me to keep this perspective, that everything is God’s, not mine. Help me to share what I have been entrusted with. I am ready and waiting for Your return. I will do my best to live each day as if it’s the day You come back. I love You so much! Amen

With love from the Father to you,

Christina

Nature Plays

green grass field under white clouds and blue sky during daytime

Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders.  Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge? Job 37:14-16 NIV

As my husband and I were driving home from seeing family, I noticed it was a beautiful day in more ways than one. Time with family is always precious to me and I was considering that on the way home. As I was looking out the window, I became enamored with all that was going on in my view! Nature seemed to be putting on a show for me! Everything was looking its best and either moving or standing beautifully still and proud. I tried to best “review” the play they were performing, directed by God.

bedecked tree, flecked sky
coiffed clouds skirt over mountains
sun dances on cue

In Job 37, Elihu is talking to Job about the wonder of God. He tells Job to basically, be still and listen to what I am saying. This is important stuff about God. He tells Job to CONSIDER God’s wonders. Think on them. Marvel in them. Nature is something we wonder at, but God has perfect knowledge of. Isn’t that worth thinking on? Our God is amazing!

Dear God,

Your wondrous display of nature makes me stop and stare. It is so beautiful. It makes me think of YOUR nature, Your goodness. Your beauty. It boggles my mind that You have done so much for me. Please open my eyes to what You want me to see and focus on. Show me ways that I can point others to You. Thank You for people in my life, who, like Elihu, tell me to stop and wonder about You. I love You so much! Amen

As you go through your day, I hope nature mesmerizes you too. It points to God, which is an excellent place for us to look! Have an awesome day!

Copyright © 2021 Christina Crute

I Surrender All

Grand Canyon, Nature, Feminine, Divine

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

If you have read many of my posts, you know that I am a fan of “three little words.” What I mean by that is…so many 3-word phrases are so powerful and emotional because of their spiritual meaning! Like, “Because He lives” for example. Those three little words represent a wonderful story of love and redemption and hope and eternity and purpose of God. Because He lives, we can have hope!

One phrase that means the most to me is, “I surrender all.” In fact, a song by that name is playing now on my stereo. I just had to stop and listen and write my thoughts down. Why does this one mean so much? Why did this phrase just now stop me in my tracks? Why does it make me feel like I have something to confess and hold my palms open and talk to Jesus?

Because it is a total game-changer and life-changer.

Because, as humans, we like to hold on to our things and our plans.

Because it is hard but necessary.

Let’s break down this tiny but special phrase.

“I”…This is who the phrase is for. Me. You can say the same. I am the one who takes charge of my life, makes decisions for my life. I make choices that I hope honor God. It is I that is making this decision with my brain and heart.

“Surrender”…this is the tough part, giving up, calling it quits, bowing to someone else’s opinion and command, stopping the fight. I have chills as I write this and grasp what surrender means in a Christian ife and how it affects our personal, entire life story.

So far, we have this thought… .”I surrender.” Even two words can be powerful! I am making the choice to give away something to someone that is a thing of value…my heart and will! Think about it. If something is not valuable, you would not use the word, surrender. Surrender is reserved for something you value…your fight to be in control.

“ALL”…that last word is hardest to wrap my head around. You? Do we really want to give all, absolutely everything, every idea, every desire, every dislike, every sin, every material good, every selfish thought over to Jesus? But that’s so hard to do, right? All I know is…. The enemy will tell us it is hard but yet, not so much! It’s rather nice to lean on someone who knows all! We can trust God because He never varies and is good and loves us! Giving all is our offering to Him.

“I surrender all”…The enormity of this whole phrase is in the fact that we CHOOSE to surrender all things we hold dear to someone we love more than anything else. Isn’t that a scary thought, but more wonderful than scary? We have a God that can and will guide us through our entire lives and carry us the whole way if necessary! We get from God way more than we give, so it is a no-brainer to follow His first commandment. We are to surrender to and hold most dear, out of everything, our God. The first commandment tells us,

You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3 NIV

Dear God,

Surrendering everything is easy to say but harder to do because we are human and we like to think we can control our own lives. You know best and You love us best. Help us to remember that YOU surrendered Your precious Son for us. Help us to remember the surrender of our Savior. He gave all. He obeyed You. He held not one thing back. Please guide us Lord in Your path, Your way and nudge us when we get off track. We love You so much! Amen.

Love to all with the love of our Father. I hope you have a blessed and surrendered day.:)

Christina

Worth it All

While reading in Luke 12 about one of many times crowds gathered to see and hear Jesus, I tried to imagine if I was in that crowd. Can you do that? Can you imagine what it would be like to be among tens of thousands of people who all want the same thing…Jesus? What road did you take to get there? Was your trip long, dusty and hot? Did it seem to take you forever? What motivated you to go follow the mob to try and get to Jesus?

My mind goes to Christmas time when mobs come early to stores to find the elusive and often limited great deals. I’ve seen people sleeping outside the store so that they can get what they want so badly. Often the line of people stretches around the store, and the people volley for position in line, wanting to get in the store before all the tv’s or i-phones or video game players are gone. Neither lack of sleep, crowds or time matters, because it will be worth it to get something at a great price, right?

(I have done the Black Friday shopping one time. That was all it took to know it was not for me. Kudos to those who like the challenge!)

All the effort put into getting what we want…Do we do that with Jesus? Do whatever it takes to get to Him? Do we see Him as the best present ever? Are we determined to be with Him, no matter how much time it takes? What about our money or our hearts? Are we looking to bargain with Him or do we give Him everything? Do we go out of our way to go HIS way?

I read the verse below no less than ten times and I am just…overwhelmed at the enthusiasm of the crowd depicted in Luke 11! Would that I would be so enthusiastic and risk being trampled, not to buy presents, but to be in the presence of Jesus!

Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak. Luke 12:1a NIV

That’s really all I wanted to share. Half of a verse about craving Jesus. That half of a verse is wholly encouraging! When we come to Jesus, He does indeed talk to us and guide us in this life, through God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.

It is worth any price to have Jesus in our life, yet HE is the one who gave all. He thought WE were worth it:)

Dear Jesus,

As I am reading about the crowds who gathered to see You, I can sense their excitement! I, too, want to see You, hear You, be near You always. What You say changes lives. It changed mine! One day, we who You changed, will see You again! One day, I will be in the crowd standing around You! I love You, Jesus! Thank You for loving me. Amen

May you have a blessed day being with Jesus:)

Christina