Year Beginning

One friend challenges me every year with this idea. Ask the Lord to show you His word or idea for you in the coming year.

Last year I heard transform. Besides moving, which in itself was a huge transformation, I have seen myself transform and become more serious about blogging ideas of substance. Hopefully there has been success there?

This is one way to invite the Lord into your life. Are you brave enough to ask Him for His input? Are you willing to wait for His answer? Are you willing to remind yourself throughout the year, say quarterly, asking how you are growing towards the goal?

What will the word be for you this year? What will the word be for me? (Actually it kind of dropped into my mind this morning, so I might have already heard?)

As we turn the page on another year I pray you are looking forward to knowing the Lord and King of heaven better than ever before! He is waiting for your attention and presence with Him. He is always near us.

On the wall near my desk I have a sketch someone made of the Lord throwing back His head in laughter. I believe it was supposed to be in the rain. I also have a tiny photo of senior citizens throwing back their heads in laughter.

Can we join them this year and throw back our heads in laughter? Laughter that the Light of the World has shown in the darkness and the darkness cannot put it out .

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1-5

Are you willing to ask for light upon your path this year?

Your word is a lamp for my feet,

    a light on my path.

Psalm 119:105

I believe we can all benefit from guidance and direction. I am not thinking of resolutions that will be broken long before February 14th. I mean a guiding word that can help you make good decisions regarding the use of your time and energy, your purpose and intentions.

Give it a try this year. I will pray the Lord will satisfy your hunger and thirst for His presence. Listen and I believe you will not be disappointed. 1 Samuel 3:1-10 tells about Samuel hearing the Lord’s voice. Eli helps him to identify that voice.

 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

1 Samuel 3:10

Direction through a word, guiding you closer to living New Testament values, glorifying the Lord Jesus as you go forward. Speak,Lord, for Your servants are listening!


Henri Nouwen wrote a book entitled Life of the Beloved. In it he puts forth the concept that Jesus takes us, blesses us, then we are broken and given just as He was. There are many publications of this book with different covers. Here is one:

I have long admired Christy Nockels for her amazing worship songs. She recently published a book entitled The Life You Long For.

Bob bought me the Kindle version for Christmas. I could not wait to open it and dive in. She writes:

Often our Enemy’s fiercest strategy against us as the Beloved is keeping us consumed with living for God rather than living from God. Our Enemy knows full well that when we live from God, it lifts the burden and the stress and the striving and restores to us the joy of knowing God and loving Him.

The Life Your Long For: Learning to Live from a Heart of Rest

Christy goes on to diagram her idea of aiming at the target of living from “the calling of the Beloved.” In 1988 I identified it as living from the inside out.

Inside Out © 1988 		Molly Lin Dutina		

I want to live from the inside out,
always within the center-down silence.
Having to struggle to get back 
is not the direction I choose.

Teach me, Lord, and help me 
know how to grow 
from the peaceful
sanctuary within.

Show me please where 
to refresh our love.
Give me attitudes that will unravel me
from the sin which so easily entangles.

Make me one with You, Lord,
so I will know 
how to be close 
to all that is around me.

Help me, Father,
and be glorified in my life.

Beloved, may this be the year that you, too, desire to live from the inside out. Buying Nouwen's book or Christy's book might help you. They are both great books. I hope you will make it your goal to learn to live as God's Beloved. 

Post Holiday Ho-hum Blahs?

After all the preparations, anticipation, gift planning, company, celebrations, gift exchanges, food over indulgences do you ever get the post holiday ho-hum blahs? We do not do much for New Years and I was recently tempted to go there and then I was snapped back into reality.

We who are well are so fortunate that we cannot dare to indulge that sort of corrupted emotion. Think with me for just a moment. There is one who was promised if she could get a liver transplant her suffering from the Whipple surgery would end and she would be fine. She had to be put in a coma awaiting the liver. The liver came. The surgery was done. She could not awake from the coma. For weeks they tried and waited. She was transferred to long term critical care unit. Something like $6,000.00 per month after the insurance gave out. Family thought she was awake. Slipped back into it. Awoke enough to talk with her family via videophone Thanksgiving Eve. Struggled to put words together. Was able to swallow applesauce and drink a bit when they covered her trach.Then began rejecting the transplant. Finally went back to ICU because so many body functions were out of whack. In contrast, I have not one worry in the world.

Once months and months ago when she managed to stand up.

Another neighbor friend began swelling right after Thanksgiving. Has never been seriously ill. She underwent many out patient tests in another state. Finally was admitted to hospital for MRIs, CTscans, blood work, x-rays, biopsies, you name it. The medical professionals are truly practicing on her. They cannot determine the cause of her illness which has evolved through many life threatening stages. She was released to her home in that other state for Christmas and to await the admission to a Mayo Clinic hospital. She was taken to ER on December 27 when her hands began to turn black, and stay black, and lose all feeling. At this writing still awaiting acceptance to Mayo. I am worried sick about her. Trusting God, trying to lift prayers, send her prayers and humor, but disturbed about what is happening to her.

This one over here was recently separated from her husband. This was the first Christmas after the separation. She and her children got through Christmas just okay. I try to stay in touch.

A neighbor saw her daughter and grandkids at start of Christmas vacation. The children spent the night. Next day daughter and granddaughter tested positive for Covid. Neighbor has to quarantine for 10 days. So no Christmas with her older parents and rest of the family.

We do not live in the Kentucky tornado zone. Or a refugee camp. We have shelter in a safe area, too much food, and are allowed to worship how ever we desire.

I was so convicted over that fleeting corrupted emotion that I just had to share. May you, too, examine your heart and recenter in gratitude.

If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9 NRSV

As you stand in line to return unwanted gifts, remember these folks in prayer please. Help that liver to be accepted and all other disease be driven out. Pray for the doctors at Mayo to find a definitive treatable diagnosis. May those suffering from broken relationships be healed and strengthened to pursue the Lord. Covid has ravaged many families with death, long term side effects, separations. Please Lord touch the suffering, heal the afflicted and all for your love’s sake.


Are you in a stance of worship? Bowing down? Lifting your hands towards heaven? Looking up towards beings more intelligent than us that worship God and proclaim His wonders on the earth?

bowing down
Lifting your hands
Looking up towards beings more intelligent than us

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

Some say the Bible is full of things you should not do. No worries about those things if you focus on things you are instructed to do!

Rejoice. Rejoice again. Be gentle. No anxiety – or if it comes send it away as quickly as you are aware of it. Soak every situation in prayer and petition. Always use thanksgiving liberally. All requests are to go right to God. God will give back a transcendent peace, beyond your understanding. He will help guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Bow down before Him. Look up. Listen for the voice of the Lord be it through angels, prophets, brothers and sisters in Christ, the Word of God, printed material a statement on radio, TV, blog, podcast, etc.

As I get older and my body is not nearly as flexible as it used to be I love the line from this prayer that says, “Now I bend the knee of my heart.” Yes, sometimes I think the prayer of Manasseh says it best:

O Lord Almighty,
God of our ancestors,
of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob
and of their righteous offspring;
you who made heaven and earth
with all their order;
who shackled the sea by your word of command,
who confined the deep
and sealed it with your terrible and glorious name;
at whom all things shudder,
and tremble before your power,
for your glorious splendor cannot be borne,
and the wrath of your threat to sinners is unendurable;
yet immeasurable and unsearchable
is your promised mercy,
for you are the Lord Most High,
of great compassion, long-suffering, and very merciful,
and you relent at human suffering.

O Lord, according to your great goodness
you have promised repentance and forgiveness
to those who have sinned against you,
and in the multitude of your mercies
you have appointed repentance for sinners,
so that they may be saved.[a]
Therefore you, O Lord, God of the righteous,
have not appointed repentance for the righteous,
for Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, who did not sin against you,
but you have appointed repentance for me, who am a sinner.

Confession of Sins

For the sins I have committed are more in number than the sand of the sea;
my transgressions are multiplied, O Lord, they are multiplied!
I am not worthy to look up and see the height of heaven
because of the multitude of my iniquities.
10 I am weighted down with many an iron fetter,
so that I am rejected because of my sins,
and I have no relief;
for I have provoked your wrath
and have done what is evil in your sight,
setting up abominations and multiplying offenses.

Supplication for Pardon

11 And now I bend the knee of my heart,
imploring you for your kindness.

12 I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned,
and I acknowledge my transgressions.
13 I earnestly implore you,
forgive me, O Lord, forgive me!
Do not destroy me with my transgressions!
Do not be angry with me forever or store up evil for me;
do not condemn me to the depths of the earth.
For you, O Lord, are the God of those who repent,
14 and in me you will manifest your goodness;
for, unworthy as I am, you will save me according to your great mercy,
15 and I will praise you continually all the days of my life.
For all the host of heaven sings your praise,
and yours is the glory forever. Amen.

Such a mighty and gracious God we serve! Verse 15 For I will praise You continually all the days of my life. Yes, Father help us to do just that.

Our King Eternal

And the seventh angel sounded; and there followed great voices in heaven, and they said, The kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ: and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Revelation 11:15 NASV

He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.

Luke 1:33 NASV

He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 1:6 NASV

Even now I am praying that you will know His presence and power in your very own life. May this Christmas season bring you a celebration of His indwelling Holy Spirit.

May you know Him as your Prince of Peace.
May you know Him as your King of kings.
May you know Him as your Lord of lords.

May 2021 be the year you finally understand why we celebrate the coming of our Lord and King. All the blessings of God be upon you. Let Him use you as a priest and King upon the earth, telling forth His glory and power on our behalf! May you know Him.

Guideposts and Prayer

Guideposts offers many ways to get prayer including a Facebook page! One paper item they publish is called 60 Days of Prayer. I opened it randomly and came to such an important lessons as the holiday entertaining begins.

First they quoted the New International Bible.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:41-42

And then this important message: “Give yourself the gift of letting go. Let go of the need to be perfect. Perfect gifts, perfect gatherings, planning the perfect day. When you focus on perfection you miss the most important part of the holiday. Instead, sit at Jesus’ feet and focus on Him.”

Now I know for some of you the letting go would not occur unless you broke your hand! Been there. Done that. And, as the saying goes, I have the t-shirt!!

Guideposts went on the make a prayer saying “I plan on keeping You the center of my celebration.”

That would be a tremendous way to celebrate Christmas, 2021, don’t you think?

Our Christmas dinner meal usually looks like sandwiches with deli items from the meat and cheese store. The kids are too excited to have a sit-down meal! My son makes mac and cheese as only a chef can. Daughter’s broccoli salad is delicious. Pickles, Skyline dip, salsa and chips, homemade cookies and United Dairy Farmers ice cream.

Gifts are likely to come from a wish list, but sometimes the family surprises us with an unexpected item. Mostly, we just like having them here. The plan for now is for our daughter’s family to come around 11 in the morning for gifts and quiche. Our son’s family to arrive around 4 for gifts and sandwiches. (The two do not meet as some are vaccinated and some are not.) All of this of course is dependent upon the Omicron variant.

Looking at Omicron, I am stunned back to the feelings of December, 2020. The Delta variant is still spreading. This new variant is more contagious and spreading faster around the globe than anything we have likely seen during our lifetime! The news doctors say if we are vaccinated and ‘boostered’ we are still likely to get it, but a much milder case than those who have not been vaccinated. They have not given their opinion regarding those with other conditions such as diabetes and COPD. The reports say “For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death — for yourselves, families, and the hospitals who may soon overwhelm,” White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said at a news briefing Friday, December 17th. “We need the American people to do their part.” Hospitals nationwide are now being overwhelmed. What does that say about those needing treatment for heart attacks, strokes, cancer. When all the beds go to Covid illnesses surgeries get cancelled. Other needs are neglected.

One friend has an adult unvaccinated son who caught the Delta variant. He isolated in his room for 7 days. His wife and 10 month old daughter got sick. He was finally admitted to the hospital because he was having such difficulty breathing. Was there for almost a week. Extremely ill, on oxygen, medications. He lost a tremendous amount of weight. Is now released but has absolutely no energy for even the simplest things. Another older friend and her husband caught Delta. She was in pain such as she has never known and exhausted for almost two weeks. Slept constantly. On the mend.

Oh Lord, have mercy. Give wisdom and conviction to those who are not vaccinated. Help each of us to keep our eyes upon You no matter what this illness does next. Be the center of our celebrations, no matter what tries to distract us. Amen.

What Does This plus This Make?

Take dollar store socks

+PLUS+ fabric store fur

Add instructions from YouTube and you just might get these!

The only SAFE Gnome campfire!

Dawn and I had fun. Afterwards there were fur and plastic pellets in several odd locations. I had to stitch down the polka dotted hat where I missed with the glue gun. Other than that, they held together well! When she showed them to her husband he wanted her to make him his very own and then 7 more for his buddies at work. That’s a lot of work!

Here are her latest creations!

As you can see she created ladies with braids. She even made tiny ones from gloves instead of socks.

If you want to give it a try watch this You Tube video and have fun!! With Dawn’s crafting expertise we substituted aquarium gravel and plastic pellets instead of rice for weighted filling. (Evidently rice can carry bugs and might breakdown over time.) Used fiberfill on top of that. Use your imagination and have fun!!

The author of the YouTube video cracked me up with how tickled she got from the cuteness of her own creations! Enjoy a whimsical Christmas.

Advent 4 and Been Messing Around

I tried changing the appearance of my blog recently and Bob says things have disappeared. So I am trying again. There are three little black dots up in the corner that give you options to follow the blog, (means you will get an email when I post something new). This area also has older posts listed arranged by month.

Now I am figuring out how to make to easier for you to “Like” or post a comment. As for comments, scroll down to the bottom and you should see the name of the last post I made ( it has an arrow pointing left) followed by a box to write comments in. Now for the all too easy “Like” button – hmmm. Where did it go? Seems WordPress takes time off the week before Christmas and I am having difficulty getting answers to my questions. So when I learn more, I will let you know!

We have briefly looked at Joy, Hope, Peace and now the theme of Love.This is the fourth and final week of Advent and the traditional theme is Love. Evidently some churches call this the Angel candle, representing purity and making reference to the angels proclaiming the birth of Christ to the shepherds. Sounds to me like trying to get EVERYTHING into the wreath and five candles? Hope Bolinger writing for says:

We can assuredly know that virtues such as love, hope, peace, joy, and faith are important in the Christmas story as well as in our daily walk with Christ. Whichever we celebrate on whatever Sunday of Advent, we know all of them are important hallmarks of the Christian faith and journey.

Love, as stated in this article, plays a vital role in the Christmas story. Because of Joseph’s love for Mary, he didn’t stone her when he found out she was pregnant with what he thought was a child out of wedlock with another man (Matthew 1:18-19). Mary has a natural motherly love for Jesus, and ultimately, we see God’s love for everyone by sending his son for us (John 3:16). 

Jesus focused on preaching love throughout his ministry. Two of his greatest commands involve love: Love God, love your neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40). 

Love is the greatest of all the virtues on the Advent wreath and encompasses Jesus’ entire purpose for being on earth (1 Corinthians 13:13).

How can we overstate love? I do not think that is possible. It is important to understand the unconditional, holy love that Jesus and the Father teach us in the word. Those of us who do begin to understand that sort of love strain to practice it. The Holy Spirit really needs to bring it to fruition in our lives. Of ourselves, we cannot do it.

Donkey Me

First there was page a day from Oswald Chambers. “How often I find it is the stubborn donkey in me rather than my intelligence that turns aside and sees the angel of the Lord (Numbers 22:23). Lord, increase my spiritual sensitiveness that I may detect your slightest goings and drawings.”

Then my computer scrolling through photos brings me this from our trip to Ireland. I see myself in those lovely eyes.

And I arrive again at the story I wrote about the donkey.

Donkey Trail © 90-6-25 Molly Lin Dutina 

While traveling on the road of God’s will I hit a dip in the road and got jostled off the path. The dip occurred where the Lord asked me to do something, but fearing His will I inwardly said, “No!” I locked my knees, dug in my heels and soon resembled a stubborn donkey that must be pushed, pulled and cajoled to be made to move. Blind to my disobedient nature and still pouting before the holy ways of the Lord I decided if He really loved me we could compromise on another way. I stepped onto the “Treadmill of Debate” a perpetual motion conveyor belt going nowhere but in circles. Fearful and resistant to God’s will I asked “Why?” and presented Him with all of the ‘What-ifs’ and ‘If-onlys.’ I formulated brilliant reasonings for resisting His ways, deluding myself and dropping further and further away from His Light.’

God was more kind to me than Balaam who beat his donkey. (Numbers 22:22-33) God used that same donkey to save Balaam’s life three times. He even made the donkey talk to Balaam! If God can use a donkey, I am no one special. 

Until I accepted His will, relinquished my ideas and gave all things over to Him I could not continue the adventure of serving God well. As usual, when I actually arrived at the point of resistance it turned out to be so unlike what I had imagined might occur, that later I wondered why I was so silly and donkey-like not to yield immediately in trust to Him.  My efforts to control led onto a futile treadmill going NO where. God’s mercy urges me to let Him direct my course and enjoy His fellowship in the Now Here.

Help me to trust You more Lord. I want to live present to You in the Here and now for in this experience alone is my salvation. As I begin to err, thank-you for taking me off the highway and into Your discipline. You truly are “able to keep me from falling and to present me without blemish before the Presence of Your glory with rejoicing!” (Jude 24)

There are many myths about the birth of Jesus. The internet is glad to tell you about all of them.

No one knows for certain if Mary rode a donkey to Bethlehem. It is estimated that they traveled 80 miles. She was well along in her pregnancy. Imagine for one moment that she did ride a donkey. What if that donkey had dug in its heals and refused to go to Bethlehem? Are we more cooperative than a donkey or stubbornly insisting on our own way? How about attitudes towards how to celebrate Christmas, and where, and when, and with whom?

“Draw us God to Your side and show us how to help the world see Your gift of life through Jesus Christ. Soften our hearts to let You lead us in paths of righteousness. Amen.”

Not Yet an Ice Pack

Though we are not in the deep throes of winter here, the stream of consciousness brought this poem to the foreground. May it spark something good in you today!

Disconsolate Leaves © 2014 Molly Lin Dutina

A few disconsolate leaves
blow and tumble over the ice pack
soon to be trammeled to muck
by rainstorm later today

Rest me now, I pray.
Take me to the center-down silence of surrender
Pour Your living water over my soul
Prepare me for resurrection life
today and always

Surrender and rest 
have to do with moments,
like leaves blown across ice pack
yielding to the wind and rain