Momma’s Songs

Good morning! Here’s a poem you may enjoy if you grew up on gospel music. I wrote this a few days ago, about my Mom who played and sang gospel music to me for years. She is in heaven now, but I am grateful for her!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_20211126_214703580-1.jpg

Momma’s Songs
I gaze upon the sunshine in the sky
and wonder where it went in eighty-two.
The day my Momma died, it disappeared
and left me in the dark without a clue.

For solace, I began to sing her songs,
for Jesus songs were ones that she adored
and as the notes fell from these lips of mine,
I felt her teaching me about her Lord.

Through her piano keys, she played her part
with melodies that mothered eighteen years.
I now remember every gospel tune.
Each lyric echoes lessons in my ears.

I didn’t know that she would leave that soon
and felt so unprepared to be so strong,
But God knew everything and had a plan
for me to grow up leaning on her songs.

Of course I wish my Momma was still here,
but I can’t fault the Lord for anything,
for if I want the sun to shine again,
He tells me all I have to do is sing.

copyright 2021 Christina Crute

I hope you all have a great day in the Lord, praising Him and singing songs:)

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:25

Tina

We Need Each Other

Sunset, Men, Silhouettes, Helping

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:12-13

Friendships are such an important part of life. They sew, or bind, us together into one unit. It’s so important that we love each other so much that we consider what others need physically, but also spiritually. One thing we all need in our Christian walk is a good example of a Jesus follower. When we are having a hard time and feel our strength is gone, we may see someone else under seemingly unbearable circumstances, praising God for His goodness and plan. That gives hope!

Sometime we are the person seeing that example and gaining hope from it, but sometime we are the person that IS the example. Someone is looking at us and wondering how we press on, happily, praising God. Isn’t it wonderful, that in a trial, that we have the opportunity to praise God and show others why we can still sing of His goodness? Only with God, can we navigate trials with hope. He has everything under control! I am so thankful for people in my church that have shown me what hope looks like, by leaning on Him with joy. They show me that God can sustain, always!

I love these lyrics by Brian Littrell, who wrote the song, “In Christ Alone.”

In Christ alone
I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross
In every victory
Let it be said of me
My source of strength
My source of hope
Is Christ alone

From God, to the cross, to us, we do have the power source of hope! May you have a blessed day of friendship and hope!

Your friend,

Tina

A Higher Perspective

From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2

Yesterday, my daughter made her final selection for a wedding dress! Beautiful day in all ways for family and friends. To cap off the experience, we went to lunch all together in downtown Roanoke. As we walked out of the restaurant, my husband and I decided to continue walking. We saw grand, old architecture, art galleries, vintage shops, bookstores, the farmer’s market and more. The sun was shining and all was right in our world:)

Not exactly…We also saw the not-so-beautiful parts of the city. We saw a few people, homeless, who looked worse for the wear. We heard people yelling at each other. One young man approached us for money, saying he had been kicked out of the mission for fighting. We do not carry cash usually, so we were not a big help to him. It sort of shocked me how young he was. With him on my mind and heart, we continued walking.

John wanted ice cream and funny thing…he just happened to know a place! (I think he scoped it out before we even left the restaurant!) We went to an ice cream shop and enjoyed a brownie-batter cone. Even better than that cone, was talking to the worker there. She was so kind while we waited in line, that she reminded me of my sister-in-law, Suzy. She even looked a bit like her! You know me…I had to tell her that, and we started talking.

She was a sis in Christ! Somehow we got on the subject of the Rescue Mission and she told me that she and her sister, during the worst of Covid, helped to make 7,000 sandwiches for the homeless. I told her how we loved to buy underwear and socks for the Rescue Mission. Not quite as grand as making thousands of sandwiches, but we had a common bond! What a gift to meet her! Thank you, Lord!

That’s crazy! Her selflessness! While many others, meaning myself, were hibernating and enjoying the germ-free interior of my house, she was dong something completely different, serving others. Why? Because someone had to, she said. She had broken her leg last year and still had a lot of pain in walking. She wasn’t working , as the shop closed down for a couple months. She had these excuses NOT to think of anyone else but herself, but she didn’t.

She had a higher perspective than I did! She had a purpose, to make good come out of a tough situation. As we left the shop and walked up on the pedestrian bridge over the old railroad, the view from the bridge caught my attention! (The picture in this devo is from that bridge.) I had a higher perspective there! I could see the beautiful mountains in the distance! Although there were lots of shadows and tracks and gravel and old construction materials below us, the mountains were there, too!

I was reminded that, here on earth, we have the beautiful and the not-so-beautiful. Sometimes we fail to see the beautiful in a tough situation. Our trials are like the shadows that threaten to take away our view of God. There is often lots of stuff going on around us and we lose perspective. But the good news is, the Lord can give us a higher perspective! He makes us see Him more clearly, His will more clearly, the beautiful more clearly! Isn’t He awesome?

Dear Father,

Thank You for showing me what my perspective can be with You, through meeting the homeless teen, the ice cream shop worker and the view of the mountains You made. As I do not always pay attention, nudge me to see the higher view, a view above my own on earth. Help me to see what YOU see, all the opportunity to see and think and act outside of our own circumstances. You are so great and loving and I want to be more like You as I grow up. I love You so much! Amen

With the love of the Father to you, have a great day!

Christina

Filled To Overflowing

Water, Hands, Abundance, Cold, Full

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 1 Thessalonians 3:12 NIV

Yesterday we talked about being connected to Jesus. Being connected to Him brings fruit that benefits others and glorifies God. It makes sense and I get it, but something about that connection mystifies me still. I do not get how Jesus can put more love in our hearts than we can handle. When we fully accept our need for Him, in humility knowing we can do nothing without Him, we are in the perfect place to accept as much love as He can give…and that’s a lot!

Love is the fertilizer for much growth. And boy does Jesus fill our hearts with love! He does not just give US love, but He gives us unending love that spills out to others. It cannot be contained and why would we try to do that anyway? Sometimes my heart feels so full that I literally stop and ask Him, “What do I do with all this passion for You and others? How do I control it?”

He tells me, “Keep doing what You are doing. Lean on me. I will show You as I show You.”

What a wonderful joy that comes from knowing we can do something to please Him and glorify the Father! We are self-centered and imperfect but He can still use us, when we use His love. All we have to do is reach up with our hands and hearts out to receive more of Him. On that note… I wrote this little poem just now.

Overflow

Connected by a bond beyond what words can tell,

My Savior’s love for me, like an ocean made to swell.

It would be impossible to keep it to myself.

I have to spill out now and love above all else.

Jesus works that way and fills our hearts completely,

So much, we overflow to those who are most needy.

Take my hands, my mouth, my feet, God’s glory to fulfill.

Make all of me a tool of love that’s sharpened for Your will.

©2021Christina Crute

May you have a blessed day and a heart full of love from our generous Savior and God!

Christina

Connections

Grapes, Vines, Grapevine, Vineyard

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. John 15:4 NIV

Connections are great to have. How often have we used our connections to call in a favor from a friend? How often have we been called on to help someone else? I see connections as sort of a vine that nourishes all who are entwined. When we share our resources and talents, we are better together. I am thinking specifically about the church, followers of Christ. We have such an opportunity to connect to each other and accomplish something bigger than our single selves.

Jesus tells us this connection is what He wants with all of us, too.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 NIV

We need to use our connection to Jesus, because we cannot produce fruit without Him. As I was typing this just now, I realized that verse four and five are almost copies of each other. Throughout the Bible, I have notice that Jesus often repeats the same wisdom in slightly different ways, to encourage full understanding. I love that! It works for me! I get what Jesus is saying here.

WE NEED HIM. By ourselves we can do some things, but we cannot bear the healthy fruit that a connection with Him brings. Jesus wants us connected to Him, so we can not just bear fruit, but MUCH fruit. And it is all to God’s glory!

I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. John 15:16-17 NIV

Connections may benefit us, but how much sweeter the fruit that comes from benefitting others! Through our connection with Jesus, we can connect to others as He commanded. It is like we are a living branch, reaching out to add another branch to our vine or tree. We were meant to connect with Jesus and use our connection wisely.

So, if someone we encounter has a spiritual or physical need, how about we use our connection to Jesus to help them? Just think…we are in Jesus and He is IN us! He says that Himself!

Jesus,

Thank you for this thought about connections this morning. When I am connected to You, You nurture me, so I am able to produce fruit. Will you please keep this word, ‘connections’, in my heart today? Help me to stay connected to You so I can connect to others in Your name, all to our Father’s glory. Thank You for sacrificing Your life for me. In a way, You are God’s fruit and You purposely connected to me and changed my life! Use me to purposely connect with others, to act out of this love that binds us together. I want to produce fruit for God! I love You so much! Amen

Sidenote…Does a song come on sometimes at JUST the time you need it? That just happened!

“Without Him, I could do nothing. Without Him I’d surely fail. Without Him I would be drifting, like a ship without a sail.” just played in my headphones! (Josh Turner singing words written by Mylon LeFevre )

I love when that happens, that a song comes on that punctuates what the Lord is teaching me! Isn’t He wonderful?

Love you all with the love of the Father. Let’s be ‘connected’ to Jesus and bear fruit!

Christina

How Do I Look?

Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”  Your face, Lord, I will seek. Psalm 27:7-8 NIV

I was excited to go dress shopping with my daughter for her wedding dress! The day had finally come when she was choosing what she would wear down the aisle to begin her new life with a man that adored both God and her. I held back tears as she tried on dress after dress. She was being so particular about how she looked, because she wanted to look just right for her fiancee. It was a precious time. She asked us, her family, our opinion on each dress.

I was a bit quiet and reserved because I was taking it all in, the excitement, the bond and special-ness of doing this event together. In my own thoughts, I was brought back to the moment when she said, “Mommy, what do YOU think? How do I look?” Instantly I felt motherly love for a daughter, who has asked me that so many times over the years. She is very independent and capable but usually asks mine or her sister’s opinion on the really important things. How special I felt to see her looking at me in expectation, waiting to see if I approved. “You look beautiful!” I said. I silently thanked the Lord for letting me be her mom.

Woah… a thought hit my heart instantly. I wondered if I ask my Father in heaven often enough, “What do YOU think? How do I look?” “Is my heart white like a wedding dress? I want to look my best for You. Do I need to change?” All the love I felt for the Lord made me think of how much I want to please Him. His opinion means the most to me.

Have you thought lately how it will be when we see our Lord? Will we be as excited as a bride looking her best? Are we counting the days? Are we looking at His beautiful face and loving Him more every day? I wonder how close the coming of our Savior might be. Will be ready and our hearts ready and looking its best for Him? Are we in constant communication with Him, seeking His opinion, His will?

Friends, we are not guaranteed tomorrow, but there’s nothing wrong, and everything right, with thinking about and being ready to meet our Savior face to face. What a day that will be! Let’s get ready!

May we all desire, ask, seek and find what the Lord wants for us. May we care most about His opinion of how our hearts look to Him!

With love from the Father to you, have a wonderful day!

Christina

I am Right Here

God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. Psalm 46:5

This morning I didn’t want to get up, honestly, but I dragged myself out of bed, while it is still dark, because this is the time I get to spend alone with my Savior! No puppy jumping on me and no cat begging to be brushed. Oh, the thrill and privilege and undeserved joy, to be able to talk to the Lord, just Him and I. So, this morning, I would like to do just that, pray.

Dear Jesus,

You know I didn’t feel like getting up this morning. I fretted too much last night about silly things and tossed and turned. Thank You for helping me get up so I can focus on You in our special time. You are always there for me. Can You help me write this morning?

(Tina, I will always help You. I am right here.)

Thank You, Lord! I can always count on You. You are my treasure for sure. Now, I know why You said, Do not lay up for yourselves treasures, except in heaven. It is because YOU are my treasure there!

 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6: 20-21

I love You, my treasure, so why can’t I find good enough words this morning to describe You? Why am I so lacking when You are not?

(I am what I am. You are human, Tina)

You are wonderful, Jesus! Thank You for loving my imperfect human self. When I think about You on that cross, I get all teary. You loved me while on that cross. You loved us all! Help me to be brave and tell my neighbors and friends about You. Help me to serve You in that way. Use me, Lord.

(I want YOU to use ME, Tina. I am right here. You can count on me. Have I ever failed you? I am what I am, Your shepherd, your friend, your rock. Use me every second of the day.)

Ah, Lord, the joy You give me. I am wordless and speechless, but I know You see my heart. You know how I feel.

(I know You better than YOU know you.)

And I am so glad about that! Guide me today, Lord. Please help my friends who have fears and anxieties. Give them a huge dose of Your amazing peace. Let them feel You by their side, holding their hands, being the best friend they ever had. Help me to help them better. For all I have asked, that I know You will help me with, thank You from the bottom, middle and top of my heart. You really are my greatest joy.

(I take joy in you, too. Keep leaning on me. I am right here.)

Just wow. I will lean! Love You!

(Love you, too.)

The words in parentheses are words I feel the Lord saying to me as I pray. Prayer is a two-way conversation. He constantly reassures me that He is right here beside me, every time I seek Him. I hope you seek Him today too, and feel the joy of being close to Him and loved by Him! He is right there!

With love from the Father to You, have a great day!

Christina

The Secret to Peace

We all need peace, don’t we? Sometimes peace is hard for me to find. You? I have trouble finding peace sometimes because I try and figure everything out myself before asking for the Lord’s help. Silly me! I guess it’s just in our nature to try to do things on our own, huh? However, the secret to peace lies in NOT depending solely on ourselves. The secret to peace is simple, actually…look up and depend on someone else, our Father! And KEEP looking up for perfect peace.

Many times just looking at the sky is enough to remind me that I am looking at where peace comes from. I am looking in the direction of my Savior and future home. That brings so much peace! Whatever we go through here on earth, it will be worth it all. The more we look up and trust Jesus, the more peace we will have!

With love from the Father to you,

Christina

This Is My Story

Book, Old, Surreal, Fantasy, Pages

We are at the end of the book of James, chapter 5! I hope you have learned along with me, that James sure did care about his flock. As a pastor, it seems he left nothing out, when writing to Christians about how to live a healthy spiritual life that is pleasing to God. Chapter five sums up a few majorly important details that he touched on earlier. This tells me that these are very important!

He warns against the love of money and riches and self-seeking pleasure in these things.

Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. James 5:3 NKJV

Wow! He pulls no punches! That sounds harsh doesn’t it? I think James cares that much, to tell the tough truth and to make readers pay attention to it. Sort of like tough love, huh? He references “the last days” which makes me think…

Our life is like a story that either WE write or we allow God to. One day, we will come to our last days on earth. Will we be proud of the parts of the story we wrote? Did we allow the Lord to be the author, or just the editor, who fixes our mistakes? Have we spent a huge amount of time in our story gathering treasures….or have we been actively waiting for our real prize, Jesus?

Further in James, he continues this future vision of sorts by telling us,

You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! James 5: 8-8 NKJV

The coming of the Lord is at hand! That means close enough to warrant preparation! The best preparation we can do is to know and act like Jesus is coming soon! James says the judge is at the door! Are we prepared? Is our heart right? In our story, have we let God be the hero? Have we served as His obedient child?

Lest this seems too “preachy,” please know I am just posing questions I would ask myself, so that I can attempt to keep a future vision. I find that hard to do at times! A pastor told me a long time ago…Our Christianity is like a car. It needs constant maintenance. If we fail to keep an eye on how it runs, it will eventually break down. Just as a car needs all kinds of regular checks, so do we.

At the end of the book of James, he details what godly actions are towards others and it is real simple….meet their needs.We can pray for them, feed them, give them clothes. James points out how important prayer is to a brother who has sinned. In our church community, we are to be like family. With family, we will gently call someone out in a loving way, if we see them stray. Can you imagine if we were going astray and the pastor or a good friend never made us aware of it? With grace, we can both give and receive a good word from our family. We should be able to confess our sins to our brothers and sisters and lean on each other as we pray and seek the Lord. That bond is so important. James says:

Let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. James 5:20 NKJV

Whew! James sure covered it all! This was a tough set of devotions for me because his letter, or book reads much like a rule book. It is not though. I can see his heart. It is a loving, caring pastor that wants his flock to continue to follow in the Lord’s light and actively wait for His return by filling their lives with actions of love to others and to God.

Dear God,

We have all sinned and regretted it. Thank You for making a way we can have a clean heart. All we want to do is live our best life for You, so please guide and direct us in YOUR way. Forgive us for our sins and help us to forgive others too. Give us a great big heart of love and concern for others. Urge us to be part of their life story and tell them about You. We love You so much! Amen.

With the love of the Father to you, always praying what I write helps you in some way:)

Christina

What’s In It For Me?

Banner, Header, I, You, And, Finger

Good morning! Today we are in James chapter four. The last few days I have been drawn to read this chapter over and over. Something was nagging me about it. I knew there was something I needed to learn from it. Oh, I learned plenty, but I had this feeling that God wanted me to really take it deep into my own heart and apply it truthfully, completely…so I did. I prayed much over this chapter. And God, in HIs usual style, answered my prayer:)

Know what He showed me? That everything I read in James’ letter to Christians are warnings. James is much like a safety monitor for the dangers of sin. He is also much like a teacher that asks his listeners questions, to check their comprehension. (He was a pastor in Jerusalem) So, to apply what the Lord inspired him to write, to my own needy soul, I asked myself the questions James asked…

“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Or do you think the scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? Who are you to judge another? and, (whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow.)For what is your life?” James 4:1,4,5, 12 and 14 NKJV

Wow. I began to see a pattern! James was warning us that SELF can cause problems, barriers if you will, in our Christian walk.

Fights, arguments, come from wanting OURSELVES to be right.

Friendship with the world means putting SELF first.

We often consider what SELF wants before we consider what God wants.

We judge others as a way of SELF-promotion.

We plan our days OURSELVES, according to what SELF wants.

I never realized before how much I do, how many decisions I make on my own, that I should ask God about first. In addition, I may need to add OTHERS’ wants and needs into my day. Don’t you love how the Word of God is so pure and wise that it cuts to our hearts? Our question each day and decision can be…”Ok, what is in this for me?” or better yet…” God, what is in this day for Your glory? How can I serve others and You today?”

Dear God,

You know best of all how imperfect I am, so thank You for giving me Your truth and light to navigate this world. Until You call me home, please keep that light on and I will do my best to follow it. Forgive me for being selfish at times. It is so easy to be that way because our world is selfish. Make me different, Lord. Make me fully Your servant. I love You so much!! Amen

May you all have a great day in the Lord! Love you!

Christina