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:)

Tuning the Heart

Cloud, Heart, Love, Romance, Romantic

My heart is confident in you, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart! Psalm 108:1 NLT

Do you ever have a day where you are in a bad mood for no apparent reason? Nothing is tragically wrong; it’s just that you are off-kilter or something? This happened to my husband and I yesterday. For no reason at all, we were a little short with each other. Sometimes our prescriptive medicines take a small toll on us, but still…we were generally on edge, irritated, not knowing why.

Today, I think I found the answer! I am reading right now through Psalms. Chapter 147 to 150 is all about praise. I was looking inward to how I was feeling and not appreciating that I can be joyful if I really want to be. The Lord showed me that I can be joyful, even on days when I am not feeling a hundred percent. How do I make that happen? I DON’T. GOD DOES! Well, I have to decide that I want a change of heart first and then ask God to work on me. He is always on duty to fix us!

See.. When we need a ‘mood tune-up’ of sorts, the best person for the job is the One who made us. Makes sense, right? We can go to Him, PRAISE Him for all the work He has done on us in the past and ASK Him to give us another tune up. When we praise the Lord, it tunes our heart, much like an instrument. We play more beautifully. We act more beautifully. We think of others more than ourselves.

So…in case of a needed tune-up, start praising Jesus! Here are the ways David lists, in Psalm 150, that we can praise Him. Try a few of these out! You will feel your heart start to feel lighter as Jesus takes your mood and re-tunes it to praise Him beautifully! I have no cymbals or trumpet but I have breath that He gave me, so I will sing! (and I love to dance with my puppy,lol!) Maybe not so beautifully, but happily. Try these…

Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,

    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Can you see how that could change a mood?

Dear God, When I have ‘off’ days and I will, remind me to re-focus on praise and not pouting. There is so much to praise You for that I do not have time to pout! Thank You for the desire You give me to please You and also to praise You. Help me to focus on You when I need a heart tune-up. You are the master mechanic of my heart and I love You so much! I so want to please You with my mood and actions. Put people in my path, no matter how different they are from me and give me Your kind of loving heart for them. Amen

With love from the Father to you, have a wonderful day. May you find lots of ways to praise the Lord today! I sincerely pray that you all have a wonderful New Year of peace and joy and health and make many new family memories. Blessings and hugs, Tina

He Almost Slipped!

Drop, Slip, Water, Stumble, Man, Sliding

But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. Psalm 73:2-3 NKJV

Did you ever take a tumble, right in front of a lot of people? I did! In college, I was running down sidewalks, in the rain, to get to class on time. It was Art Appreciation class, not my favorite, so I overslept. Note: the classroom I was going to was on a slant. As you walk in the door, the floor slants down to the front majorly. So, as I open the classroom door, I am standing at the top of the “hill” and everyone turns to see who is late. I took one step and slid…almost all the way to the front! People tried not to laugh, but how cold they not! With a red face and hurt pride, I trudged back up the ‘hill’ to sit in the back.

I did not expect to stumble and fall. It just happened because I was not aware that I might. I was in a hurry and my boots were wet, so it makes sense. Know what else makes sense? The fact that we, spiritually, can slip easily. David, in Psalm 73 admits that he almost stumbled. He almost slipped because he was “envious of the boastful.” Then, further in chapter 73, he realizes just how much He needs God to guide him… not just for the day, but all the way to glory! (Hmm…I think that is a song or poem waiting to be written! I digress…)

David writes, Nevertheless I am continually with You; you hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Psalm 73:23-24 NKJV

Isn’t that great to know? God is right by our hand, waiting to guide us as we navigate this world, on our way to the next. His Holy Spirit is so good to nudge us when we are about to fall. We just have to listen and trust His guidance. Otherwise we will get off balance and be in danger of stumbling!

Father, Thank You for always being with me and for wanting me to succeed in my spiritual journey. I do not want to slip but the world does tempt me with bad attitudes and jealousy. Please have Your Holy Spirit speak to me when I am at the top of the hill, about to fall. Stay with me every moment of this life so I may please You. You are so so good to me. I ask all this in the sweetest and most holy name ever, Yours. Amen

May you have a blessed Wednesday. It’s raining here but God’s joy still shines if we look for it! Love, Tina

My Strength and Song

Bird, Singer, Singing, Chirp, Tweet, Chirrup, Robin

Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’ ”Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. Isaiah 12:2-3 NKJV

See the picture of that little bird? He is singing his little heart out! Do you ever do that when God blesses you real good? Do you, like me, not feel like singing your heart out in the bad times? It is tough, isn’t it! The emotion is not there.

But you know what IS there? God. His strength. His wisdom. His truth. His love. His Son. His Holy Spirit. We have so many resources at our disposal! And they are spiritual, never-ending resources! Even when we are going through trials and do not feel joy, we can still KNOW, without a single doubt, that God has our back. THAT is worth singing our little hearts out!

Because God is our strength(when we have none) He will give us a song to sing(when we have none.) What a good witness it would be to others if we sang through our trials because we knew who held us in His hand!

Dear Father, Although I do not have a trial now, I am sure there will be some to come. You tell us in Your Word that we will have problems. When those time comes, please help me do the impossible and sing my heart out to You. Remind me that I am not alone and not as weak as I feel, because You are my strength. You are awesome and I love You so much! I ask these things because I know You hear me and will answer as You will. Thank you, God! Amen

With love from the Father to you, have a great day. I pray you lean on the Lord each day, so you are able to sing about how good He is! If you have a favorite song that lifts you up, feel free to tell me what it is! Love, Tina

P.S. One of my favorite songs to sing is…My Faith Still Holds.

I thought I had to see and feel
To prove that what I loved was really real
A passion turned to ashes things I held to dust
I found reality in simple trust

My faith still holds on to the Christ of Calvary
Oh blessed Rock of Ages cleft for me
I gladly place my trust in things I can not see
My faith still holds on to the Christ of Calvary

I tried to find life’s mysteries
Just by the reason of my mind to see
But void remain between me and where I longed to be
‘Til childlike faith there built a bridge for me

And oh what joy to walk the way
I followed nailed pierced footprints all the way
Though the end of where I’m bound I may not see
I choose to place my trust in Calvary

My faith still holds on to the Christ of Calvary
Oh blessed Rock of Ages cleft for me
I gladly place my trust in things I can not see
My faith still holds on to the Christ of Calvary

Songwriters: Bill Gaither / Gloria L Gaither My Faith Still Holds lyrics © Gaither Music Co., Hanna Street Music

Like An Elevator

The Lord sustains all who fall and raises up all who are bowed down. Psalm 145:14

There’s an old song that I love and it’s about love. It’s called, ‘Love Lifted Me.’ James Rowe wrote this is 1912!The words tell the story of a sinner saved when God’s love lifted Him out of the angry waves of sin. God is the master of the sea, the One who made the Sea, the One who made us. He hears our need and answers with love that lifts us from our sin or sorrow, so love is a lifter, sort of like an elevator!

Love is an elevator? Yep! As elevators work for people that need to be lifted, over and over again. God’s love is like that. He lifts the needy from wherever they are, to the higher place they need to go.

He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of his people. Psalm 113:7-8

The idea of love being the lifting agent is priceless. Why? Because we can all love someone else, thereby lifting their day, burden or their worries. Love is like an elevator for people that need a positive lift. We can all be elevators, of sorts. Please excuse the cheesy, simplistic analogy, but sometimes it takes a silly analogy to really grasp great things of God. (At least for me!)

God’s a lifter. I’m a lifter. Wouldn’t you like to be a lifter too? (This reminds me of the old Dr. Pepper commercial…you who are old like me will get that!)

Dear God, I want to be an elevator of sorts. Help me to carry someone to a higher more positive place by caring about them. Remind me when I am down, that others feel that way sometimes, too. Help me to recognize that and be a lifter. Thank You for lifting me above the world’s problems and giving me peace. I love You so much! Tina

With love from our awesome Father to you, have a great day. If you get a chance, be a lifter. It’s fun! Love, Tina

My Strength and Song

Bird, Singer, Singing, Chirp, Tweet, Chirrup, Robin

Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’ ”Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. Isaiah 12:2-3 NKJV

See the picture of that little bird? He is singing his little heart out! Do you ever do that when God blesses you real good? Do you, like me, not feel like singing your heart out in the bad times? It is tough, isn’t it! The emotion is not there.

But you know what IS there? God. His strength. His wisdom. His truth. His love. His Son. His Holy Spirit. We have so many resources at our disposal! And they are spiritual, never-ending resources! Even when we are going through trials and do not feel joy, we can still KNOW, without a single doubt, that God has our back. THAT is worth singing our little hearts out!

Because God is our strength(when we have none) He will give us a song to sing(when we have none.) What a good witness it would be to others if we sang through our trials because we knew who held us in His hand!

Dear Father, Although I do not have a trial now, I am sure there will be some to come. You tell us in Your Word that we will have problems. When those time comes, please help me do the impossible and sing my heart out to You. Remind me that I am not alone and not as weak as I feel, because You are my strength. You are awesome and I love You so much! I ask these things because I know You hear me and will answer as You will. Thank you, God! Amen

With love from the Father to you, have a great day. I pray you lean on the Lord each day, so you are able to sing about how good He is! If you have a favorite song that lifts you up, feel free to tell me what it is! Love, Tina

P.S. One of my favorite songs to sing is…My Faith Still Holds.

I thought I had to see and feel
To prove that what I loved was really real
A passion turned to ashes things I held to dust
I found reality in simple trust

My faith still holds on to the Christ of Calvary
Oh blessed Rock of Ages cleft for me
I gladly place my trust in things I can not see
My faith still holds on to the Christ of Calvary

I tried to find life’s mysteries
Just by the reason of my mind to see
But void remain between me and where I longed to be
‘Til childlike faith there built a bridge for me

And oh what joy to walk the way
I followed nailed pierced footprints all the way
Though the end of where I’m bound I may not see
I choose to place my trust in Calvary

My faith still holds on to the Christ of Calvary
Oh blessed Rock of Ages cleft for me
I gladly place my trust in things I can not see
My faith still holds on to the Christ of Calvary

Songwriters: Bill Gaither / Gloria L Gaither My Faith Still Holds lyrics © Gaither Music Co., Hanna Street Music