The Heart Chooses

Heart, Leaves, Foliage, Garden, Bush

I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws. Psalm 119:30 NIV

Growing up with three siblings and not much money, us kids did not always get choices when it came to food or clothing. My parents both worked hard to buy whatever food or clothes were on sale and my siblings and I were happy to have them. Friends from church secretly left other needs in our car.

When I graduated high school, my mom’s friend asked me what I wanted for my gift. I was speechless. I got to choose! I chose pretty purple sheets for my bed. That was what I had my heart set on. It may seem silly now, but it was something that meant so much to me, that I both wanted and needed.

David, in the Bible, chose what he needed most, God. David, for a long period, was being pursued by enemies, so his choices were often about his own survival. He chose right. He knew who He needed. He chose whom his heart loved, God.

He could have doubted God because his life was in danger, but instead he chose to trust Him. God protected him, so David praised Him even more. He had his whole heart set on God’s laws.

Dear God, Sometimes I try to decide things for myself. When it comes to important decisions, like when I get frustrated or scared in a trial, my heart will always choose you. Thank you for being my best solution. Thank you for all you’ve done for me. Amen

Today’s Takeaway…God is faithful and always there for the choosing!

With love from the Father to you, I hope you feel God’s love and faithfulness in your life…..Tina

Lord Willing

Presentation, Statistic, Boy, Character

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that. James 4:14-15 NIV

Lord Willing…These are two words that belong together. I realized this while reading James last week and it is stuck in my head, so I figure the Lord wants me to remember it! What a powerful offering from our heart to God’s ears, telling Him we will move to His will, not ours.

When my children were in high school, my youngest daughter came to me. She was frustrated with her progress in her sport. Her older sister was “good at everything” she told me, while complaining that she could not achieve the same results.

My response was simple, because I knew she needed comfort. I reminded her that all we can do is our best and the rest is up to God. Well, that was not exactly what she wanted to hear but she at least considered it. I reminded her that she may ‘fail’ to meet her own goals, but those failures do not make HER a failure.

Then I added words that I didn’t know were going to come out of my mouth… “Do you really want something that is not God’s will?” Though she took offense at first, she acknowledged that the Lord’s will is most important. If we praise Him through the perceived failure or disappointment, then that glorifies Him. She taught ME something …..When we praise God during a disappointment, that glorifies Him.

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 NIV

Father God, I know you have plans for me so please help me to know your will. Thank you for comforting and guiding me when I go through a trial. Amen

Today’s Takeaway: Trials are opportunities to praise God for His will.

Have a terrific day, knowing God has a plan just for you!…..Tina

Many Sparrows

 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12: 6-7 NIV

Have you ever felt worthless, maybe in a trial or when someone criticized you? I had that feeling and it was caused by someone’s words at school, many years ago. Those words still resonate in my head sometimes, but I remind myself that my identity is in Christ, not other people’s words. I am valued by God. You are valued by God. Even sparrows are valued by God!

See, sparrows, in Bible times, were offered as sacrifices at the temple, bought by those who could not afford a goat or a lamb. Five sparrows were sold for two pennies. That’s pretty cheap, right? Matthew records Jesus as saying sparrows are sold two for a penny. Still pretty cheap! So does that mean they are of little value? No.

Jesus is using the value of tiny sparrows to demonstrate how much God loves us. But sparrows are cheap, so why does Jesus compare US to THEM? Because sparrows, as cheap as they were back then, were not forgotten by God. They are worth remembering, to Him. They are never outside their Father’s care and neither are we. The Bible says so!

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31

Dear God, I am not sure why you love me so. It baffles me because, well, you are GOD! Thank you for your constant love and care. Guide me with your Holy Spirit to share that love with others in your name. Amen

Today’s Take-away: God’s children are never outside His loving care.

God Made Them All

God looked at everything he had made, and it was very good. Evening passed, and morning came. This was the sixth day. Genesis 1:31 New Century Version

I recently wrote this poem for children. It has a message for all of us in it.

God Made Us All

Cats can’t talk, but they ‘meow.’
Cows can’t sing; they don’t know how.

Dogs can’t cook, but they can eat.
Birds can’t read. They’d rather ‘tweet.’

Whales can’t walk, but they can swim.
Frogs can’t walk; it’s hops for them.

God made them all to be themselves
And not to be somebody else.

He did the same for you and me.
He made us special, don’t you see?

And isn’t that so great to know,
How much He loves His creatures so?

Copyright 2021 Christina Crute

Dear Father, Thanks for making us. We are Your special creations and You love us. You are so good to us. Thank You for being with us every day. Amen

Have a wonderful day and know that God made you special!…..Tina

Practicing Praise

Woman, Sky, Sunlight, Arms, Open Arms

I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:1-2 NIV

You know the phrase, “Practice Makes Perfect?” Well, it’s not true, really, because none of us are perfect, are we? We may try many times to paint or draw but that doesn’t mean we become perfect at it. However, it is true we can become better at things, the more we do them. Our definition and expectancy of perfection may keep us from ever feeling good about what we are doing, writing or working on…and the enemy would love us to feel that way!

When I started writing, I was so hard on myself that it would take me hours to get a post “perfect.” I would finally post, not because it was perfect, but because I could think of nothing else to add or change, I was never totally happy with the result, UNTIL… I discovered in God’s Word, that it is the effort that counts! As long as we are trying to glorify Him the best we can, we are doing it right! Remember, HE is our “Boss-man.” We are here to please HIM, not others and not ourselves.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. Colossians 3:23

Father God, Thank You for the sunshine today that wraps around my heart as I think of how great You are. It will be my joy to keep practicing praise because you are indescribable and perfect! Like David, I want to tell of You, be glad in You and rejoice in you. Amen

Today’s Take-away: God is never disappointed when we do our best.

May you have a blessed day with our Father, practicing praise:)…..Tina

Learning to Count

All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 2 Thess. 1:5

Do you remember learning to count, as a child? I remember my teacher making me, for homework, count to a hundred, by tens, to two different people at home. How excited were my mom and dad that I could do it! I felt so accomplished, lol!

As adults, we can also count in a better way. We can count ourselves grateful for our blessings. We definitely can count God faithful. We can count our families a gift. The most important things to count are things we are thankful for. The thing I count as most valuable, besides God, is His Word. Without Him and His Word, I honestly do not know where I would be!

This begs the question…How does God count? According to the Bible, He counts our faith and obedience. I looked in the Bible and realized the word, ‘count’ is used over a hundred times. For example, Abraham trusted God, and how did God count Him? Righteous.

 Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Galatians 3:6 NKJV

Here are some more references to counting what matters:

Sarah counted God faithful…..Hebrews 11:11

James says to count it all joy…..James 1:2-4

God counted Timothy faithful…..1 Timothy 1:12

Dear God, Thank you for your blessings that are too many to count. I want you to count me faithful. Please help me obey, for I am a learning child of yours. I count you worthy of praise and everything else I can give you. Amen

Today’s Takeaway: Counting is important to learn, but what matters most is that we count God worthy of obedience and God counts us faithful to Him.

With the love of the Father, I hope you have a wonderful day. Remember, God loves you!…..Tina

God Gives the Answers

Prayer, Bible, Christian, Folded Hands

Teach me your decrees, O LORD; I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart. Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found. Psalm 119: 33-35

Good morning! I am kind of ‘winging it’ a bit this morning. If you would be so kind, today I’d like to offer you a personal testimony to God’s goodness.

I slept late this morning, as in past morning, having a lot on my mind, mostly what plans and goals to focus on this year. I enjoy so many things that I have not been sure where to give my time and energy. Will I have to give up something? I had been praying for quite awhile about it, with no clear conclusion, until…

In the midst of my questions last week, the Holy Spirit clearly urged both my husband and I to start a homeless ministry we have been wanting to do for a long while. I asked Him, “Really, God? NOW? You want us to put all our other plans on hold and do this? Do we have enough money to do that? Plus, I have so many other things I love to do! How will I fit it all in?”

His simple answer was a clear, “Yes.” He didn’t tell me how, but He told me to do it. The urging in my heart was so strong and still is. It is precious, because He is! I went to my husband and told Him what I was thinking and what did he think/ He said, in his characteristically slow drawl, “Yes.” We got excited and started wondering how we would do it. I began to pray even more, because this still didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

The next morning, my devotional book focused on me lifting my hand, knowing Jesus was there to take it and help me do His will, His way. Cool! I could feel Him guiding me to get moving on this. It was as if He was saying to me, “Enough doubting. The time is now. Trust me and just get started. You do not need to know any more just yet. I will hold your hand.”

Overwhelmed by His goodness, I opened another one of my devotion books and the devotion for the day was about connecting to others, especially those who are different from you. (like the homeless!) Wow. “Okay, I am listening, Lord!” Two other times that day I got confirmation through friends and my pastor.

My Bible reading that day happened to be Psalm 119. At the top of this devotion are the verses that I read that same day. God’s so good y’all. He not only gives desires to serve, He tells you when and then encourages you with verses, to remove all doubt! Isn’t it amazing that God knows we are human and doubtful, so He makes sure we get what He is trying to communicate to us?

You know, it wasn’t until I REALLY surrendered my plans and “un-planned” my calendar ( that is my made up word for shoving my plans aside to look at God’s) that I heard Him speak. Note to self…Before you ask God for answers, make sure you have not already filled in the blanks!”

Dear God, Like David, I want to follow Your statutes but also Your plans. My life should not be about self glory but more about Yours. If that means You disrupt my nice, neat little plans to write a book or two, learn to play piano, even write devotions or write with my poetry friends…You may have it all if I can just have You guide me. Here is my blank planner and my heart. Thank You for a husband who is like-minded and loves me, but loves You more. Thank you for three awesome daughters and family and pastor that support Your will for our lives. I am over-blessed and grateful for it. Won’t you please be with my friends that are struggling with health issues today? Please heal them with Your touch as You make Your presence known to them. I ask these things because I know You can do them. I love You! Amen

Thank you for reading. Have a blessed day, another gift from the Father to use for Him! Love to all!

Christina…or Tina:)