Have you been keeping a holy Lent? You might ask, “What does that even mean?” Is your focus upon Christ even as the grocery stores fill up with rabbits, candy, chickens and baskets? Next we will likely see Reese’s peanut butter egg advertisements on television!

Christ Church Anglican notes: “The Season of Lent is a time of fasting, penance, prayer, and worship. Lent is all about disruptions. These disruptions, however, have a holy purpose. They are aids to help us prepare our hearts for the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.  Lent is not about earning our salvation or proving something to God or others. Instead, Lent is a season of heart renovation. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sundown on Holy Saturday. By the time we get to Easter, we are often drawn closer in our relationship with God, our faith encouraged, and the sins we have been wrestling with have been cast off.”

Lent is a season of heart renovation.” Remember during the pandemic how people worked on their homes? Bought up the wood and other hardware store items and went to work on their dream project? How about renovations in your heart? Have you spent time during Lent asking the LORD to help renovate your heart?

And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,

Ezekiel 11:19, Ezekiel 36:26, Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 8:10 ESV

All those references saying the same thing. This is the plan God has for heart renovation! How is the plan working in your personal heart?

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
    after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
    and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
    and they shall be my people.

Hebrews 8:10 ESV

He has written His laws into our minds. Are our minds quiet enough to hear those laws? Can you discern His voice among the sounds that bombard your brain? Do you seek out quiet to listen for His voice? Can you read the laws written into your mind or is your mind covered with the graffiti of the world?

He has written His laws on our hearts? What about that? Is you heart like the walls of an old house, needing scrubbing or a new surface so the writing is clarified? Can you imagine your heart with the product called chalkboard paint? “Chalkboard paint is a specialized paint that creates a chalkboard like coating that can be utilized as a writing surface in the same manner as a traditional chalkboard or blackboard.” Wikipedia

Instead of a grocery list imagine the LORD writing His laws and messages to you there!

“I love you with an everlasting love.”

“In all you do and say, do it as unto Me.”

“Seek my face.”

“In returning and rest you are saved; in quietness and trust is your strength.”

“I will be with you always.”

“Love Me with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, all your strength.”

“My grace is sufficient for you.”

“In everything give thanks.”

“I have given you everything needed for a life of godliness.”

Can you imagine running into the room each day to see if something new had been written on your walls? You can do that now. Truly you can do that right now by choosing to be with Him and yielding you heart to Him.

So how is your heart renovation going during Lent 2023? It is never too late to begin. God is patient and kind. He is not willing that any should perish.

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9 RSV

I urge you to examine your heart. Ask Him if there are renovations to be done? Pray for His help in getting those underway and completed. Completed for this season. For you see, there is always more we can do to become like Jesus before we enter into our eternal reward. If God had told me everything I needed to change and asked for that all at once I would not have survived the request.

The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

Psalm 145:8 NIV

Book entitled The Lost

The quote below is from a novel I read recently. The wisdom of the LORD seems to show up in so many places!

The battle’s in here.’ Sunni tapped a finger against Jonah’s temple as he pushed himself upright on the bench. ‘Pain’s just your body’s way of telling you something’s wrong. It’s how you deal with it that matters.’ It was just hard to believe that when it hurt so much.

The Lost by Simon Beckett

The novelist knows that our biggest battle is between our ears. Whether it is bodily pain or the facts of life. Struggling with physical pain can be especially difficult. We can get lost in the facts and rumors and dismal dashing of hopes. What does the New Testament say about that?

 … for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NRSV

We have the power to take every one of our thoughts captive to obey Christ. Are we using that power to His glory and for our well-being? Yes, it is a big job, but we are given what we need to accomplish it.

In my experience if I am willing to use the weapons given me to take every thought captive to obey Christ the experience can be like falling dominoes (or that series that Dan likes so much where one action causes other actions., Gabe somebody?)

Nope, I found it!

Wikipedia says: “Reuben Garrett Lucius Goldberg (July 4, 1883 – December 7, 1970), known best as Rube Goldberg, was an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor.

Goldberg is best known for his popular cartoons depicting complicated gadgets performing simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. The cartoons led to the expression “Rube Goldberg machines” to describe similar gadgets and processes.”

I take a negative or disquieting thought into the Light of Christ. Jesus, the Spirit of Truth, shines His light upon the thought. It can no longer hold darkness of untruth. That makes a whole sequence of things predicated upon that thought to come to the Light of Christ and be made captive unto Him. My thoughts change as each is taken captive. Maybe oversimplification, but I hope you get the idea.

Here is a Rube Goldberg video to illustrate how things can pass.

So what thought holds you captive? Are you willing to take it captive through the weapons of warfare you have been given? Do you want to see the sequence it controls fall to the LORD?


If you play the video and close your eyes you might get a sample of what we heard on this walk! Not chickens, but what were we hearing? Such a ruckus and we could not identify it. Another couple of hikers walking past us and seeing our confusion set us straight with one word. Frogs! We knew right away they were not our typical tree frogs – spring peepers.

We heard them long before we saw them! Jumping and calling, chuckling and beating the water with their legs. (I’ve never wanted to eat them but wondered how they would cook up for frog legs? Maybe not large enough but muscular for certain.) I hope the lady frogs were impressed. I thought they were just silly looking and sounding. Yep! they made me laugh. When I loaded this to YouTube I laughed again.

The naturalist was not certain. Bob found them on line with his phone. She gave a booklet “Amphibians of Ohio” and there they were. Enjoy!

The video was taken by r m dutina

Foothold #2

This was supposed to post last week, but obvious I did something wrong because it did not post?!?!

There is another Scriptural reference to foothold. Here is a teaching about it. Green print is quote and blue print is Scripture.

The most common use of the word foothold today is as a place or thing that will support a climber’s foot or as a secure starting position from which further advance can be made. In biblical Greek it can refer to a spot, place, location, room, home, position, tract, occasion, opportunity, locality, region, or condition.

Paul gave us insight into how Satan might establish a foothold in our thinking from which further advancement towards hindering our walk can be made. He says:

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:26-27)

In these verses Paul warns us to quickly forgive an offense so that retained anger does not turn into bitterness, because bitterness (long-held unforgiveness) gives Satan a “foot up” in our thought life. It can give him a platform that will support further incursions into our thought life.


See the website above for a more thorough teaching.

Long-held unforgiveness creates a foothold and stronghold…. how is your hold upon Scripture? “In your anger do not sin..do not give the devil a foothold.” I am familiar with a woman that many folks are having difficulty understanding. Seems she has a rather violent and shocking verbal temper that does not always show. Something has happened to make her this way. Perhaps an unwillingness to be angry but sin not? God reads hearts and He is the only One who knows for certain.

Previously I focused on creating a foothold for the Gospel to take root. What about a foothold for evil? Do you have unforgiven anger towards someone or a situation? Do you find your walk with Christ full of boulders and slippery areas that keep you stumbling and even falling? Perhaps it is time to ask the LORD to help you uncover those areas and deal with them in the Light of His love and power?

By refusing to forgive we make our lives difficult and bring more trouble than we need have into our existence. If we practice this relentless anger for decades we create chasms as deep as the southwest Grand Canyon. Then we come to the edge, thinking we can simply step over and the eroded area surprises us. There are so many times when we plainly do not know ourselves and the difficulties we have created in our own lives. Jesus is a bridge builder. He can show us how to release that unforgiveness and build a bridge into His arms of love.

A foothold can become a ladder towards the kingdom of darkness. Do you recognize the footholds you have created? Are you willing to let the LORD destroy those footholds and show you the way into His life?

Turn to the One who loves you best and loves you the most! He is able to do marvelous things!

giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. 13 He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves. 14 We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in Him.

Colossians 1:12-14 HCSB

Begin Again

Start all over again every day.

St. Francis de Sales said: “Be patient with everyone but especially yourself. Start all over again every day.”

I came across this quote and was instantly touched. I know little about Catholic saints. I do know the Benedictines also say, “Always we begin again.” The Buddhists encourage beginners mind: Beginner’s mind is a Buddhist practice that encourages approaching activities with an open mind, allowing you to more fully enjoy and appreciate the present moment.”

I fail so often, especially in my goals as a Type 2 diabetic. Yet here is an old saint encouraging me to try again as this is how life is. So today I will try to limit my carbohydrate portions. I will ask the LORD to help me. I will yield to His instructions. I will again offer myself to God as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable in His sight which is my spiritual worship. Romans 12:1-2 paraphrased.

And what about you? Was yesterday lousy? This is a time to start all over again. Was yesterday terrific? You must still face this day as a fresh beginning or you might set yourself up for disappointment!

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV

And I am so grateful for those compassions that are NEW every morning. I am not consumed by my failures. Grace and compassion for each new day. LORD, help me honor You by my behaviors and eating habits. May all glory be Yours LORD Christ.

Scraps of Paper

Often the novels I read influence my thinking and I quote them to you. Here is one I finished recently.

Her eyes scanned the horizon. “It’s so peaceful; makes you feel close to God. It makes it hard to believe anything bad can happen in a world so beautiful or that humans could harm other humans.”

Scraps of Paper novel by K M Griffith

I can hardly stand national news anymore. Even local news reports all the violence and harm people do to one another. No matter how I pray murders will continue. Guns are everywhere except our home. Violence that I could not tolerate on television 30 years ago is now in almost every major city and certainly on every television channel.

It is not going to stop. I am not afraid. I am sad over the state of American affairs.

“Evil does have a face. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s human. You talk about the innocence of nature, yet it’s the absence of man which makes nature so beautifully pure. That’s why I love being out here among the trees, water and sky, just like you.”

Her pain had become a silent shadow, constantly there.

She wanted to fall in love again. She wanted to be alive again. Because life was short, precious, and a person had to live it every moment. Every moment they had.

Scraps of Paper by K M Griffith

I saw a friend over the weekend. He does not own a television. I find that a challenging thought. I wonder if we could just not turn ours on for a full week? No news. No violent TV shows. None of that? I would like to try that. We mostly watch TV in the evening. There would be more time for sewing. If I am too tired to sew, there would be more time for prayer and reading. Or perhaps just go to bed earlier?

Griffith wrote that “life was short, precious and had to be lived every moment.” I wonder how much we are NOT living those moments by numbing them with television? The constant recital of violence and mass shootings and on and on.

Many people blame the violence on the political arena where disrespect and ugly words have been allowed to flourish in recent years. Then there are social media forums where those same ugly words seem to appear. No one says thank you or job well done, just blah, blah blah of criticism and discontent. There is not a place where it seems people can have a discussion without tempers flaring and words of insult and belittlement flying.

I now rarely go on Facebook. I am seriously considering fasting from television, too. Do you think you could do it?

Weird Advertising

In Cincinnati we have some good advertisers that are creative and humorous. They have a bakery ad that shows a high school graduate and says “He’s done. Put a fork in him!” They decorate sheet cakes with photos and cookies with school colors, etc.

Recently I saw a billboard by some other company that I found weird and distasteful. If you were searching for joy, would you search for it in a cemetery? With the rise in suicide awareness I think the idea behind this billboard is objectionable. Maybe it’s just me? Maybe I am reading it wrong? At another location it reads “Find peace here!”


And then Bob found this one a few years ago. Thankfully it is starting to fall apart now so maybe we won’t have to endure it much longer?


There are companies that help arrange things so you have more closet space. In my opinion, this is not how anyone should do that.

The 3:20 Timer

Many months ago I set the alarm on my watch to ring every afternoon at 3:20. I use the reminder to help me stop and praise the LORD. Sometimes I am reminded to go listen to the John Eldredge Pause for the Resilient study. Though not necessarily worded in prayer form they are things I am grateful for!

Here are a few recent results.

1. Reminded me to listen to Resilient Pause for the evening of whatever date the calendar reads. Always draws me closer to God.

2. Rejoice as Bob and I take a ride in the sunshine enjoying the old houses and getting along sweetly. Many people my age are widows. I am still with Bob.

3. Thank God for the strength to brush the beagle (who sheds and sheds) and also clean up the leaves from the front door area after the wind storms we’ve been having.

4. Sitting listening to music and so pleased to be sewing Swedish embroidery for towel edging. Prayed a blessing over the edging for whoever I gift it to.

5. Walking at Hocking Hills with Bob.

6. Sleeping through the alarm very tired after a walk at Hocking Hills 🙂

7. Holding twin baby girls – alternating with Bob.

How would an afternoon timer turn your attention to God? What would you find yourself grateful for at the time? I chose a time that I knew I might be oblivious to God with me. What time are you immersed in the world and needing a reminder to turn your heart and mind to Him? Maybe you could hum a Christian song when it rings and turn your heart to Him that way?

If your watch has an alarm on it you might want to try this for one week and draw yourself out of this world and towards the next!

“Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

Matthew 26:26
Washington National Cathedral

You can take this prayer and fill in anything you want to pray instead of ‘who brings forth bread from the earth.’ I do not worry about changing this Scripture, but I take this as a launching pad for prayer. What better way to interrupt your distraction by things of the world than “Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe … who draws my attention to Yourself?”