Deliverance from Self

“Faith in Him can bring an immediate and effectual deliverance from self.” Are you sick of self-rule yet? The idea of self-rule is almost like a slap-stick comedy scene performed by Carol Burnett. Like when I tell God, “Thanks, Lord, I can take it from here!” My next step is usually face-down in the mud. The Word says only by the power of the Holy Spirit can we hope to control ourselves. Even then we are weak and fumbling. Self-rule? I think that is an illusion presented by the powers of death and hell. It will not end well.

Are we willing to place our faith in God? Do we desire deliverance from self? Another way to state it,” who really sits on the throne of your life”? When I first saw the main altar in the Washington National Cathedral it took my breath away. The image of Jesus high and lifted up over everything stated what my heart knew.

Washington National Cathedral Main Altar

Is Jesus on the throne of your life? There was a time when many thought He was on the throne of the heart of this nation. I wonder how many people actually believe that now? I, for one, want Him enthroned over my life.

There is shame we feel about our sin. Yes, sin. This current societal mindset seems to resist that word. Yet we all do sin. Every day and every night. Like it or not we are sinners and we need deliverance from that sin.

Shame has also become a nasty word mostly because so many of us have had shame inflicted upon us by parents, peers, and national advertisers. Yet feeling shame over our sin can be a healthy thing that should lead us to repentance. Acknowledge your sin, turn from it, confess and patiently ask ‘Thy will be done’ and God will act.

You need to see that it is not only in your morning devotions when you ask and expect strength for the day, but through the whole day for every moment of it that the clothing of humility is to be worn.

William Law

“The clothing of humility.” Where did he get that idea? The Bible.

 You are the people of God; He loved you and chose you for His own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 

Col 3:12 GNT

All day long, asking God for strength and the wisdom to stay dressed with humility. Every moment and every day? Yes, Paul wrote to the Colossians be clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. If Jesus remains on the throne of my heart this should be what my clothing looks like.

Older praise chorus below, but worshipful!

Check the throne of your heart and mind daily, even hourly. Who sits there? Make sure to yield that seat to Jesus!

Philippians 3

Our small group has been studying Philippians 3. Then I read this selection by Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest. Hope it encourages you as it did me! First the Scripture.

For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith; that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Philippians 3:8b-11 RSV

“That I may know Him.” The initiative of the saint is not towards self-realization, but towards knowing Jesus Christ. The spiritual saint never believes circumstances to be haphazard, or thinks of his life as secular and sacred; he sees everything he is dumped down in as the means of securing the knowledge of Jesus Christ. There is a reckless abandonment about him. The Holy Spirit is determined that we shall realize Jesus Christ in every domain of life, and He will bring us back to the same point again and again until we do. Self-realization leads to the enthronement of work; whereas the saint enthrones Jesus Christ in his work. Whether it be eating or drinking or washing disciples’ feet, whatever it is, we have to take the initiative of realizing Jesus Christ in it. Every phase of our actual life has its counterpart in the life of Jesus. Our Lord realized His relationship to the Father even in the most menial work. “Jesus knowing … that He was come from God, and went to God … took a towel…and began to wash the disciples’ feet.

The aim of the spiritual saint is “that I may know Him.” Do I know Him where I am today? If not, I am failing Him. I am here not to realize myself, but to know Jesus. In Christian work the initiative is too often the realization that something has to be done and I must do it. That is never the attitude of the spiritual saint, his aim is to secure the realization of Jesus Christ in every set of circumstances he is in.”

Utmost July 11

Do you know Him in your activities today? I love the phrase ‘everything he is dumped down in.” Have you spoken to Him today? Will you be obedient to whatever He tells you, following Him as closely as possible?

At what time during the day do you lose touch with Him? Can you set your watch or a timer to remind you to turn your attention back to include Him at about that hour? There. I set an alarm for everyday at the same afternoon time. As for helping me turn my attention to Christ I will try anything for a bit!

Post-its on the wall with Scripture. Pack of 3 x 5 or 4 x 6 cards with verses and quotes to tune my heart. A bracelet reminding me to turn to God with meek, humble, patient relinquishment to Him. I don’t even like to wear bracelets, but this helps! A silver chain to remind me that, like Paul, I have given myself to Christ. Paul declared he was in chains for Christ. Turn your attention to Him in all things Molly Lin.

What do you do when you have walked away, having finished your morning devotions and your day is underway, to keep your eyes upon Him? So many distractions every hour of the day. How do you keep your heart upon Him?

What effort are you willing to make to ‘know Him’?

If you want to read My Utmost for His Highest for free, you can do that online at

Disarm me with Your Love

Have you ever been naughty and you knew it while you were being naughty. Not just in childhood, but have you done things as an adult that you knew were not good for you? But you did them anyway.

Recently we were watching the “Untold story of C. S. Lewis” about how he resisted and ran from being a Christian for much of his early life. How he used reasoning and thinking to try to avoid the Living God. I was delighted that authors like George MacDonald introduced him subtly to the power of the Holy Spirit.

This morning I opened another old devotional book that is a collection of quotes, poems and stories. This one was collected by Mary Wilder Tileston entitled Joy & Strength. First copyright was 1901. She quotes a poem by George MacDonald.

Lord, to Thy call of me I bow,
Obey like Abraham;
Thou lov'st me because Thou art Thou,
And I am what I am.

Doubt whispers, "thou art such a blot
He cannot love poor thee,"
If what I am He loveth not,
He loves what I shall be.

Isn’t that wonderful? Paul wrote in Philippians 3: 12 “Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own.” God has plans for us. He loves us and what we shall be.

Tileston went on to quote a paragraph by Juliana H. Ewing.

We may hate ourselves when we come to realize failings we have not recognized before, and feel that there are probably others which we do not yet see as clearly as other people see them, but this kind of impatience for our perfection is not felt by those who love us, I am sure. It is one’s greatest comfort to believe that it is not even felt by God. Just as a mother would not love her child the better for its being turned into a model of perfection at once, but does love it the more dearly every time it tries to be good, so I do hope and believe our Great Father does not wait for us to be good and wise to love us, but loves us, and loves to help us in the very thick of our struggles with folly and sin.

Juliana H. Ewing

Juliana was on to something here. God wants us to try and keep on trying to be obedient to what He tells us. He does not love us less when we fail. Someone coined the phrase “God will never love you more than He does right now.” Yes, He loves to help us ‘in the very thick of our struggles.’

I have always believed that God disarms me with His love. If I dig in my heals about something He does not fight with me. He loves me and melts my armor and my arguments against Him. I can resist and pout if I want. He is still moving towards me with love.

Can you see some of the chains you have put upon yourself? For years Lewis determined to have nothing to do with ‘religion.’ He resisted the Father and the Son, but he was no match for the Holy Spirit. God loved what Lewis would become. He disarmed Lewis with His love.

God has plans for your life, too! He loves you now. He will love eternally. Have you yielded to His love for you? Are you willing to bend your ways to His? Lewis was not enamored of church. Let’s face it, Anglican hymns leave SO much to be desired. Yet he went where he thought he should go to find God.

There is great value in being with other Christians. You will not like all of them. If there were a perfect church and I walked into it, it would not longer be the perfect church. Yet we need each other. We need to grow and learn and pray and struggle together.

We each have failings we likely have not recognized up to now. Go to church anyway. Start watching a variety of sermons on line until you find a local place to attend. Then go regularly and find ways to grow there. The Trinity will rejoice and eventually you will, too!

Ewing wrote: “our Great Father does not wait for us to be good and wise to love us, but loves us, and loves to help us in the very thick of our struggles with folly and sin.”

Giants Among Us!

Recently we watched a National Geographic program entitled the “Green Planet” showing plants from all over the world. They emphasized how plants grow to obtain the best sunlight. Theses lily plants are the largest in the world. They begin very small and unfold to cover the most pool surface and the most sunlight. As the pond fills in with lily leaves, the other water plants die off, starved for sunlight. I was so excited during this program I almost sounded like Bob watching FC Cincinnati when they “SCORE!!!” (Imagine man screaming and dog terrified.)

Yes, they are approximately six feet across and can support a grown man! Can you imagine? That is a plant I would love to see in person! No, these lily plants do not grow on stalky stems like the ones that grow at the Nature Center of Cincinnati. As you can see the flowers are on the water surface, too.

If you have followed my blog you have likely read my poem about Lily Pads. In case you missed it:

Perhaps I Could Ask You Just to Stand and Tip? ©1990       Molly Lin Dutina 	
Lily pads at the pond		
Grow on stalky stems
Leaves unfold an opened palm
Cupped at center point
Summer shower starts to drop
Mercurial glistening spheres
Gathering in the center spot
‘til bulbous weight smears silver drops
Into glistening globs
And tips the leaves so full
To pour their contents overboard
And rising from the spill
Stately shielded lily-hands
Begin the cycle once more

Keep my stem flexible, Lord
My hands open and cupped
Eager to receive Your all
Questioning not Your skill
Only trusting the power of Your love
To melt my rigid will

Drench me Lord 
In Your shower of love
Let me gather and drink my fill
Then spill over on those around
And rise to await Your will

Send water of Your Spirit
To tip me over, pour me out
Then wash over me once again
Fresh cleansing by Holy Words

Shine Your light through
This enshrouding mist
Color me with covenant this:
Abiding presence and constant love,
Indwelling grace that conquers sin
Transfigured rigid I
Yielded and bent
In Your service	
Spilling forth rivers of living water	
And giving rest to croaky voiced frogs	  
Who, when Spirit-kissed,
Become priests and kings	
Singing their praises to You.

Perhaps You ask me just to be Your lily leaf
Stand and tip


Now that is a monster lily leaf!

Unlike the giant lily leaves, I do not want to crowd out the other plants from the sun. Instead, I want to direct others to the Light of Christ, the best Sun/Son of all. Seek Him. When you seek Him, you will find Him, if you seek Him with all of your heart.

 You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, says the Lord

Jeremiah 29: 13-14a

Oops. This One Was on Me. All Me.

I admit to this mistake publicly Robert Dutina. I was a mistaken button pusher!

How did you like that accidental Monday post? Occasionally while writing the blog I do not get the scheduled date and time correct. So the post was meant for Wednesday, July 27.

Yes, Jesus is my Captain. Sometimes He lets me drive the ship and then under my control things can get really strange!

You likely need to copy and paste this link into your search line. https://treasuresinplainsight.wordpress.com/9458

First Duty and Contemporary Quote

William Law wrote:

The first duty of the day and of your life is to get into the right place of dependence before God, in meek, patient, humble resignation to Him. From morning to night! You need to see that it is not only in your morning devotions when you ask and expect strength for the day, but through the whole day for every moment of it that the clothing of humility is to be worn.

William Law, Freedom from a Self-centered Life

In 1 Peter 5 we are told to clothe ourselves with humility. Law is teaching that humility includes recognizing that God knows what is best for each of us. He opposes those who are proud and gives grace to those who are humble. Don’t we each need more grace?

What if we are not taking this ‘first duty of the day’ seriously? What if we continue to define our own way in life even after we meet the Risen Savior and find His grace for salvation, making choices dictated by our flesh, whims and fancies?? I was reading AARP Bulletin for July/August 2022 (of all things) and found what I think is a great contemporary quote from Ice-T about our choices.

Ice-T at 64

You have probably seen him sometime in the past 20 years on Law & Order. The subtitle to the article reads “From hustler to rap icon to ‘Law & Order’ star: Ice-T, 64, describes his unique American journey. I respect him as an actor so I read the article.

Life is based on crossroads that we choose from every day. Small decisions change the trajectory of your life.

Ice-T AARP Bulletin July/August 2022

Can you even imagine how the trajectory of your life will change if you take Ice-T’s advice and couple that to try William Law’s teaching that through the whole day, for every moment? To get and stay in the right place of dependence before God? I am still experimenting and trying to train myself towards this.

I will confess perhaps one of the biggest obstacles is the chronic pain I suffer. When the daily headache clobbers me I find it hard to think at all, much less think about my position in regards to dependence upon God. Oh Lord, I need Your help in this. If there is ever a time that a small decision could change the trajectory of my life, it would likely be that time. As the saying goes, it is easier to praise God when things are going well than when things are not going well. Give me strength I pray to yield to Your help and guidance, even in those moments of being overwhelmed. I know You are there with me.

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

Colossians 3:12 NRSV

Gosh, that sounds familiar doesn’t it?

Streams in the Desert

Mrs. Charles E. Cowman compiled quotes from Sunday School lessons, sermons, books and Scriptures that were published under her title “Streams in the Desert” in 1925. A friend gave me a copy that was in the 29th printing in 1950. My friend did not like it due to the older style of speaking. Now it has even been published in contemporary English.

In 2005 Bob bought me a copy that was published as a journal with lines to make notes. I have noted things over the years. IN 2018 I posed the question, “Molly can you read sea charts and navigate by the stars? No.” This morning when I opened it the bookmark fell to June 1st. Ha! I love her quote from Charles Spurgeon, known as a “Prince of Preachers” during the late 1800’s.

Why dost thou worry thyself? What use can thy fretting serve? Thou art onboard a vessel which thou couldst not steer even if the great Captain put thee at the helm, of which thou couldst not so much as reef a sail, yet thou worriest as if thou wert captain and helmsman. Oh, be quiet; God is Master!

C. H Spurgoen

It reads something like: Why do you worry yourself? What use can your fretting serve? You are aboard a vessel which you could not steer even if the great Captain put you at the helm, of which you could not so much as reef a sail {I do not even know what that means!} yet you worry as if you were captain and helmsman. OH BE QUIET; God is Master!

I got the OH BE QUIET part. Aren’t there times when we need to tell ourselves to shut up and sit down? Lately I have been in an orthotic boot trying to recover from Plantar fasciitis. That pesky ligament in the bottom of your foot that can get inflamed. My trusty foot surgeon basically told me to go sit down, do icing, stretches, rest, Tylenol, steroid tablets, wear the boot and rest: i.e., quit walking so much. Once out of school, does anyone heed when they are told to go sit down? Well, if the pain is bad enough this one does.

Molly, OH BE QUIET. You are not a foot surgeon and you do not know what is best for you. Sit down and hush. As the weeks have plodded on with me thumping along in this orthotic boot, strapping and unstrapping the front blade on with the tearing sound of Velcro, I have repeatedly told myself, “Buckle up, Buttercup and Hush! Stop complaining and be grateful you have good medical care. How many women on the run from Ukraine need an orthotic boot and do not have access to one?”

What am I worried about? Bob has had to do the dog walking a minimum of twice a day for the long walks. I do the short ones at 11 AM and 8 or 9 PM if I am able. Bob has been doing the shopping except when I go to a store and get a wheelchair cart. I am really trying to get better and store the boot until next time I need one. We have not walked along the lake road in a long time. No museums. An occasional movie. yep, fairly sedentary here. It is truly a pain for me to drive any place as it is my right foot and I cannot drive in the boot. If I drive for more than about 30 minutes it hurts to drive even with a slipper on.

Oh be quiet, Molly. Go sit down and write your blog.

Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;

    do not fret 

Psalm 37:7 NRSV

Three times this psalm says ‘do not fret.” I always say God knew to write it 3 times because I would not catch it otherwise. Be quiet. Be still. Jesus, my Captain says: “Do not fret, over dog walks or shopping lists, or housework or other errands. Yield to this current situation and heal. Ride the storm of right now and let Father be in charge, because Molly dear, you are not.”

Flesh and Spirit

Are we fascinated with bubbles because we cannot see the wind? Yet these wondrous things help us to see the very thing we cannot capture with our own eyes!

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

John 3:8 NIV

Look back at the first photo. We have special rocks here in the Ohio river valley. Fossils decorate almost every stone in a stream here. This site identifies many of them. https://faculty.msj.edu/kritskg/evolab/Site/Cincinnati_fossils.html#:~:text=The%20rocks%20of%20Cincinnati%20are%20450%20-%20443,is%20the%20fossil%20of%20its%20long%20straight%20shell

We are fortunate to live on one of the world’s famous fossil localities.  The rocks of Cincinnati are 450 – 443 million years old and contain several different types of fossils.  Each of the species shown below are extinct. 

horn coral
Brachiopod
Cephalopod
Trilobite and bryozoan

As a child I played with these all the time. Only later in life did I find out they were unusual.

Those stones remind me of flesh. Stones, fossils and flesh all have sharp edges. Whether we admit it or not we are stuck in our own ways and want our own way with God and man. Then comes the wind of the Spirit, blowing upon us to bring change, help and relief. How can wind change a rock? Being born of the Spirit changes a person both immediately and gradually. Yield to God Almighty and discover how!

Rumination

What do you think of when you hear that word? Perhaps animals chewing their “cud?”

A ruminate animal means it has a four-chambered stomach. Each chamber has a different and specific function that allows the beast to eat a variety of different foods, digesting it at a later time in a safe area of cover.

Even this fawn is a ruminate

How about cud?

1. Zoology: partially digested food regurgitated from the first stomach of cattle and other ruminants to the mouth for a second chewing

2. chew the cud to reflect or think over something

Farlex Free Dictionary

Rumination is also a term used in psychology. I first heard about Dr. Winch on a Podcast called Being Well with Rick Hanson. It just so happened I was in a situation of emotional upset and very much needed to find out how to NOT ruminate about what was written and done during that time.

Author Guy Winch, Ph.D. refers to it as ‘picking at emotional scabs.’ Not a lovely image but apt. In his 2013 book entitled Emotional First Aid he states “What makes rumination a form of psychological injury is that it provides no new understandings that could heal our wounds and instead serves only to pick at our scabs and infect them anew.” Dr. Winch goes on to give treatment guidelines and exercises to help people get free of this tendency.

It is not like ruminating had never happened to me before! Trust me, many times during my life I had fell into that pit and then had to figure out how to get out of it. If you want to hear some his overall teaching you can try the following link.

I was able to get his book through Ohio Libraries. He wrote:

In order to break the self-reinforcing nature of ruminative thoughts and allow our wounds to heal we must interrupt the cycle of rumination once it gets triggered, and we should weaken the urge to ruminate at the source by diminishing the intensity of the feelings that fuel it. We must also make efforts to monitor our relationships and to ease the emotional burden we might be placing on our loved ones.

Guy Winch, PhD Emotional First Aid

His treatment ideas for ruminating are not new to psychology. They include changing perspective, distraction from emotional pain, re-framing anger and managing friendships. I have read about those techniques in other psychology books. However, the idea that someone was able to devote 28 pages to rumination was helpful to me. The book helped me see this was not just my problem, but many others experience it, too. I was able to settle the topic rather quickly (at least this time around) and move on with better mental health.

If you have found yourself ‘stewing over’ a situation or returning to a problem again and again, perhaps you are ruminating. There is a way out of that maze. He also notes that if his suggestions have not helped and the urge to ruminate is still strong …”if your ruminations interfere with your basic ability to function, seek the advice of a mental health professional.”

Rumination is also strongly tied to depression.

Guy Winch, PhD, Emotional First Aid

If you are plagued with ruminations, do not assume that reading this blog or scanning a book on mental health are all you need. Use some common sense and seek a health professional if your situation persists. This was just a report on one of my experiences. I do hope it was helpful.

Been Studying

Freedom from a Self-centered Life / Dying to Self is an old book of mine described as ‘Selections from the writings of William Law (1686-1761) and edited by Andrew Murray (1828-1917). I return to this title again and again as the topic of dying to self comes up in my Christian walk. The most famous idea notes we are to follow “the way of patience, meekness, humility and resignation to God.” I studied this once years ago as evidenced by all the underlining and highlighting in my book. This time I wanted to not just review what I marked, but truly study it and try to find a way to express the truths therein in today’s language. We might be talking brain strain here?

Basically this is a teaching about not just seeking salvation from the Lord Jesus Christ, but asking Him to help you become more like Him in your day to day walk. We cannot possibly accomplish that in our own strength. Simply cannot be done, for this is a work of renouncing your Adam tendencies and embracing Jesus, “the new Adam” and His indwelling Spirit. Letting the Spirit use His ways to remodel and build your life to be like Jesus.

Amazon’s summary says:

William Law tackles a very difficult subject for many Christians: dying to self. First published in the 1800s, “Dying to Self” is one of Murray’s (and Law’s) lesser known works. Though written many years ago, Murray’s comments on Law’s insightful text have been “pure gold” to the hearts of numerous readers.

The conversational style of the book between two people (Eusebius and Theophilus) seeking further enlightenment on the topic was written by Law, with explanations provided by Murray. Law’s wisdom, combined with Murray’s commentary, makes for an excellent treatment of the subject which will be especially helpful to Christians who don’t fully understand what “dying to self” really means. The good news, as Murray so expertly points out, is that this “dying to self” can and will be wrought by the Spirit of God when we surrender to Him.

Dying to Self is akin to “deny yourself and take up your cross daily.”

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.

Matthew 9:23-24 NIV

This was not a suggestion from Jesus, but a MUST. Oh Lord, I fall so short on this. Come help us to seek You in all of Your glory and shed Your light upon our individual lives.

What have you experienced in your Christian life of ‘dying to self?’ I am not talking about giving up chocolate for Lent. More to the point of ‘taking up your cross DAILY and following Jesus’. Murray says this can only be wrought by the Spirit. Wrought as in worked, shaped. One thought is wrought iron. The dictionary implied a more delicate work or shaping, though in shaping metal hammers would be used. I might be the one in need of a hammer. The photo below reminds me of my need to cling to Him.

Quoting from this book I will not try to differentiate between Law and Murray. The things in quotations are taken from the book, but not always noted as to which one wrote it.

We are instructed over and over in this work to “sink down into our own helplessness and humbly and patiently resign ourselves to God to work in us.” Law makes the point that we are helpless to create these changes in ourselves. God must do it through the power of the Holy Spirit. We must yield. And we must yield to the work again and again and again.

Patience, meekness, humility and resignation to God.

William Law

This resignation is not the attitude of defeat or despair. It is more like an accepting, unresisting attitude. Letting God have His way within us.

Law compares the New Testament seekers who approached Jesus to how we go about trying to change. He said, “You seek these first-rate virtues in the ways they are not to be found. They are not in a multiplicity of human rules, methods, and contrivances, but in that simplicity of faith in which those who applied to Christ immediately obtained that which they asked of Him.” We humans do not have the answer within our selves or our religious establishments. Jesus has the key and dispenses the changes through our giving way to the Holy Spirit.

Are you prepared to go forward, following Jesus, (that is what disciples do, they follow), asking the Holy Spirit to make changes within you so you are more like Jesus? Then will you obey what you are told? Generally, the Lord leads me little by little, a change here, another there. Like Paul wrote,

“Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own.”

Philippians 3:12 RSV

With patience, meekness, humility and resignation to God we will become what He had in mind when He blew breath into our lungs. Yield to His leading again and again.