Known and Unknown

I believe one reason we fear silence and stillness is we do not want to know ourselves and what God has to say about us. If we could only trust Him in a small way we would learn that He loves us more than we love ourselves. In fact, He treasures and adores us.

The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing

Zephaniah 3:17 NRSV
Stefan Kunze Upsplash

The writings of Oswald Chambers contained in the book noted below were excerpted from articles published by God’s Bible School in Cincinnati. The articles were taken from his classroom lectures and Bible studies and published in the school’s periodical God’s Revivalist.

What does the Bible mean when it says to be an example to the flock of God? You must be a walking example of what you believe, in every moment of your life, known and unknown. You must bear the scrutiny of God until you prove that you are indeed a specimen of what He can do. Then He will send you out to disciple all nations.

Oswald Chambers, September 18 selection from “Devotions for a Deeper Life”

Every moment known and unknown. Things done in secret. I do not think this refers just to shameful things. Our deepest wounds are often kept private. The healing the Lord may give from those wounds is also usually given in private. The deep formation of a disciple usually takes place in private.

But whenever you pray, enter into your inner room and shut your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Matthew 6:6 NIV

Your Father who sees in secret. He hears every whisper or shout of a prayer. Your Father knows you inside and out. He will not require that you share with others what He does in your secret place of prayer. There may however, come a time when you want to shout His work from the rooftops.

Matt Hanns Upsplash

Dietrich Bonhoeffer captured my attention writing in The Cost of Discipleship when he emphasized that we each walk alone with God.

Every man is called separately and must follow alone. 

Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship, Discipleship and the Individual

Many of us admire other Christians but we know little or nothing about what it takes for them to be public Christians. We have no clue what happens between them and the Trinity in private. No idea the depth of their wounds or the strength of the healing times the Lord has sent to them. All most often occur in private.

You interact with your Father in a private place, even if you are kneeling in a sanctuary packed with other people. We can share our experiences with others but we are essentially alone with Christ in our walk. Yes, He encourages fellowship with those who are like minded, but in the final analysis we are each alone with Him. He reads our heart. He corrects our course. He convicts us when we go astray. He gives us His righteousness. He suffered and died for our salvation and for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despised the shame and sat down at the right hand of the Throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 NRSV)

Public, private, the deepest things occur in a private place with your Holy Trinity God.

Steffany Gretzinger in her song “Forever Amen” sums it up for me. “I was made to love You. Let me hear the sound of Your voice…”

I would strongly encourage you that when you hear the sound of His voice, go running to a quiet place. Listen up! For unlike human parents, the Father does not waste His breath. He speaks to us with power, love, meaning and transformative powers.

Two Days Until We Celebrate 52 Years!

We got engaged to be married August 10, 1970 and stayed up all night long talking about our families and our lives together. After hearing about the New York relatives with names like Evakovich and Stajcich, when I called home to say I was getting married my mother asked, “What is his name?” I replied “I can’t remember!” Mind you, Dutina is not exactly a common name, but imagine my mother’s face in Ohio when I called from California.

Someone placed a bet at the wedding that we would never last. We never had the courage to ask my mother-in-law who that was. Guess we might never find out now!

2022
2017 after being at the Canyon in 1971
2020 in Colorado as Paula’s guests
2021
1970 – With this ring, I thee wed.
1970 Don took our car so we took his back to our apartment.
1970 ready for the honeymoon so Ohio people would go back east

So we will go out for a fancy dinner and remind ourselves of all the joys we have shared over the years. I am still madly in love with this gorgeous man! He is a gift and a monstrous blessing to me. My life with him has been one grateful surprise after another grateful surprise. Oh Lord, You have made my life such a blessing through this holy matrimony.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh.

Mark10:7-8 NIV
Carnations on top of cake, red, white and pink to represent each of us and the new creation of one flesh.

Clay

She has a boyfriend. When he shows up at the volleyball games her smile is wider than the gymnasium. She doesn’t smile like that on other days.

Smitten. She is truly smitten. I pray he is kind to her. I think it helps that they attend different schools. She is three days older than he is. The families tease her about being a cougar. He is a junior. She is a senior.

He is a baseball player. She invited him to her homecoming dance with a baseball plate sign. He said yes.

Wait, wasn’t I just getting ready for homecoming? Oh. Now I am Grammy and this is my Grandgirl #2. Oh goodness. How the years have flown!

Children’s children are a crown to the aged,
    and parents are the pride of their children.

Proverbs 17:6 NIV

Learning Curve

Oh my goodness. I was brought up short by my ignorance during a visit with my oldest Grandgirl the other day.

She met her boyfriend on Snap Chat. And he is a looker! Lives about 27 miles away. They have a limit of seeing one another 4 times a week, at least before school began. With the price of gas I am not surprised on that limit.

She wanted to come over and bake a cookie recipe with me that she got from Tik Tok, I think. It has pretzels, chocolate chips and chopped caramels in it. She baked those with him, too. Told me she did not think they would be too hard for him. Oh my, dear. The male ego is fragile. Hope she did not say that to him!

She had to teach him how to crack an egg. She liked that fact. The cookies were delicious!

I am so out of touch! Yes, I suppose I must lean into this learning curve. Parts of me sarcastically say, “Really?” When we began an account on Facebook our children were upset as they saw it as their domain. Now they have moved along without us. The Grandgirls helped me load Snap Chat a few years ago. Without practice I have forgotten how to use it and the value of even having it on my devices. Not certain I even want TikTok. Here is more information in case you are interested.

“TikTok is a short-form, video-sharing app that allows users to create and share 15-second videos, on any topic.”

https://influencermarketinghub.com/what-is-tiktok/

I do not take many videos. If I mastered videography would I only want you to see it for 15 seconds?

And what about Snapchat?

Snapchat is an American multimedia instant messaging app and service developed by Snap Inc., originally Snapchat Inc. One of the principal features of Snapchat is that pictures and messages are usually only available for a short time before they become inaccessible to their recipients.

Wikipedia

Do I really need more apps and time destroyers? I’m thinking not, but perhaps I am just thinking old! One pastor called one of these apps a tool of the devil. I think that demon can find his way into anything, but not certain the entire platform is evil? More likely the techno-crazed modern brain is caught up in too much information bombarding daily. It is amazing how modern technology has made it possible for us to be connected to others if we want to be!

Not likely I will load and use either of those apps. Just thought you might want to know how out of touch this Grammy is! I do pray for the protection of my grandchildren and all those using these apps. Most of all, may they turn their eyes to the Lord God Almighty.

But my eyes are toward you, O GOD, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!

Psalm 141:8 ESV

How to Choose?

Do you remember the story in Samuel about the Lord choosing the next King for the nation?

So it happened, when they had come, he looked at Eliab [the eldest son] and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass before Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.”

1 Samuel 16: 6-8 AMP

Jesse had eight sons in all. He presented the first seven to Samuel, but God told Samuel not any of them were to be king. Jesse guessed wrong. Samuel guessed wrong. Only the Lord God knew the one He had chosen. The one whose heart He had read and found to be the best for the position. Nope, not by appearance, height, handsomeness, physical stature. New Jewish Bible reads “Adonai looks at the heart.” Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition says “the Lord beholdeth the heart.”

A man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22)

Our God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. He alone can read hearts. How dare we presume to judge others without this sovereign ability?

When it comes to serious decision making I would hope you use something less like this childhood game and more like prayer. If we are uncertain what to choose it is usually much better to wait on the guidance of the Lord than to move out in our own strength, with our guess. Patience is difficult for most everyone, but it pays off when serving the Living God. Authorities believe that David waited about 15 years to rule as King over Israel. (https://www.biblestudy.org/question/why-did-king-david-wait-to-rule-israel.html)

As the Living God reads your heart He has plans for you. It might take months or years for those plans to become clear. We are told repeatedly to cling to Him by faith and with thanksgiving. He will use you. Remember since He could use Balaam’s donkey, (Numbers 22:21-29) He can surely use you in His kingdom work!

Themes Fold In Upon One Another

Have you ever had a recipe that said to fold in ingredients? Here is a bowl before ingredients are folded in.

The week of August 8 our church leadership was hit with another wave of Covid. Many of those afflicted have already had Covid, yet they are ill again. One of the women in our small group in her 80’s has Covid. There is another in her 80s in our group, 2 of us in our 70s and on down the age numbers. Our host decided it was best to cancel our biweekly group. So we will have no meetings for the month of August. (Another meeting was canceled due to attendance number too low.)

Then I wondered if we should meet for the Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 discussion. So far 2 out of 4 have said yes. Phillip Keller wrote

He leads his flock gently, but persistently, up the paths that wind through the dark valleys. It should be noticed that the verse states “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” Somehow, in a serene quiet way I am assured all will turn out well for my best because He is with me in the valley and things are under His control.

pages 100, 102 A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23

Reminded again a contemporary saying, “The best way out is usually THROUGH.”

That brought me back to the challenge by John Eldredge in Resilient. One question he poses on Page 8 is

If another pandemic were to sweep across the globe next week, some brand-new deadly threat, and we found ourselves back to quarantines, living under the vague threat of suffering and death, in a state of constant uncertainty about the future, with no clear view of the finish line – how would your heart respond to that?

Eldredge – Resilient

When it comes to our household the threat isn’t exactly vague. Pneumonia is also circulating around here. You might remember in 2018 my husband contracted influenza with pneumonia and was hospitalized in ICU with a ventilator, septic shock, organ failure, etc. The medical community was not certain he would survive that first week. Today we have been double vaccinated and double boosted against Covid in this household. Still do not want to tackle Covid and pneumonia at this address.

So I found myself wondering “Have I gained the resilience to go through this round?” Oh yeah, I never finished the book! The skills in each chapter have been strengthening. Now throw in the fact that I have been in pain with this plantar fasciitis since mid-June and in this orthotic boot since end of June. Now Doc is prescribing 3-5 sessions of PT to see if there is improvement. If not, then steroid injection. If no relief then surgery. I wanted to run from his office screaming NO SURGERY! But then again, I cannot run right now. Molly, can you be resilient through this too?

On page 125 Eldredge wrote:

The survivor understands that their present situation is something that they are moving through, passing through. They are enduring with resilience, which is why Jesus encourages endurance. This is not my lasting reality; this is simply my present reality. We are tapping into the help of God and the strength that prevails simply to see us through these times.

-John Eldredge

He goes on to say “This frame of mind changes everything,” Yes, John, it surely does. I have had foot pain and been clumping around in this boot for so long that I forgot this is just something I am going through. It just seems as if it will go on forever.

How to get my stability back? Joy & Strength reading for 8/15 quoted Joshua 1:7 “Be thou strong, and very courageous.” Yes, Lord help me with that, too. Strong and very courageous. She quoted Frederik Temple as saying

God does not require from you to be sinless when you come before Him, but He does require you to be unceasing in your perseverance. He does not require that you shall never have fallen; but He does require unwearied efforts. He does not require you to win, but He does require you to fight.

Frederick Temple

To change my frame of mind to going through this, with Jesus, enduring with resilience because Christ Jesus the King strengthens me. I fight back the darkness of discouragement and press on towards the light and the upward call of Christ Jesus. The themes from those three sources touched the struggle within me and folded in together to help change my attitude and determination to fight back the darkness and strain towards His light and upward call.

FOLDED IN UPON ONE ANOTHER

Are you ready to tackle your current personal challenge with these quotes? Do you know in the depths of your being that your Good Shepherd goes with you through this and every challenge? Are you persevering in ways that are strong and courageous? I challenge you to take these quotes and principles of the Kingdom and apply them to your personal challenge. He IS with you and for you. Trust Him to se you through this.

Fed Up With Waiting on God?

A friend sent me this link recently.

I pray for Brandon Lake often. He is such an anointed servant of God. His message is always pure and based on God’s Word. He needs our prayers. We have seen other talented servants like him snatched from life before their time. So please pray for Brandon and his family that the Lord will protect them from every work of the enemy.

You can see the girls got some of his curls!!

He encourages us to wait for the Lord, especially in hard times. Are you willing to do that? Watch that video again and pay special attention to the lyrics. Who are we to say that God is done?

I see you child
Though you can't see me
And I know your thoughts
Before you even think
I heard every last prayer you prayed
Though I answered all the time
You just didn't hear my reply
And I know it's not easy, oh

Don't you give up on me
Don't you give up on me
'Cause the darker the night gets
The brighter the light hits
Don't you give up on me
Don't you give up on me
You ain't seen what I promised
Child, we're just getting started

I'll be your way
When there's no way out
And I'll be your strength
When your strength runs out
And if you walk into the fire
I'll be right there in the flames
I wouldn't have it any other way
'Cause loving you is easy, yeah

Open your heart
Open your hands
Open your eyelids
I've got more dreams
I've got more plans
I've got more blessings

Don't lose your hope
Don't lose your faith
That's where your fight is
I got more dreams
I got more plans
I got more blessings

Don't you give up on me
Don't you give up on me
When the night's at its darkest
That's when the light hits the hardest
Don't you give up on me
Don't you give up on me
'Cause you ain't seen what I promised
Child, we're just getting started

Open your heart
Open your hands
Open your eyelids
I got more dreams
I got more plans
I got more blessings

Humor and Aging

Without your glasses are you using the Spray ‘n Wash stain stick or Underarm deodorant?

With your glasses off are those eye drops or scalp drops?

Steroid cream says do not use internally. Doctor says apply to your gums. Go figure!

If you are on a low salt diet is it okay to soak your foot in Epsom Salts? How about swimming in a friend’s in ground salt water pool?

Level of pain determines which cream I use on my face! Arthritis and TMJ are NO FUN!!

How come we find time to do so many things, including visiting others, and rarely find time to do things for us (like shooting photos downtown or cutting quilt squares)?

Since I never learned how to cook for two I have plenty of food to share with others!

My, oh my, this life brings humor if we are willing to look for it! I do not envy my kids or caregivers as I age. How come I think many of those comfort options will be dropped then as non-essential? A counselor who did her internship at a nursing home said she wants to hire someone when she grows old to pluck the hairs that grow in unusual places. How about my left elbow? Can I count on you to do that for me?!?

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  • Known and Unknown

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    I believe one reason we fear silence and stillness is we do not want to know ourselves and what God has to say about us. If we could only trust Him in a small way we would learn that He loves us more than we love ourselves. In fact, He treasures and adores us. The […]


Our Favorite Company!

This post has been republished due to a technical issue preventing some followers from seeing the initial publication…. So I guess the pressure to write this week has been taken off!

Dan and Betty Cooksey have been visiting with us for a couple days. What a delight to see our oldest friends from New Mexico. We are always at ease with them. We share approximate ages, they are married about 3 years longer than us, but best of all we share a deep and abiding faith in Christ.

It has been a whirlwind here. If I have missed a posting or two that is because I have been too busy for my own good! Or perhaps this is all FOR my good? I am lumping along in my orthotic boot with plantar fasciitis, writing a group lesson plan for Saturday (trust stands guard), group lesson plan for Thursday (Philippians Chapter 2), the blog (you are reading), company and preparing for the backyard landscapers to arrive any minute here to create a new garden strip across the back of the yard. All that amidst high humidity and nasty high temperatures, etc.

photo by r m dutina

We did get to visit our son’s food stand created with his friend Ryan, at Findlay Market. He has been making sour dough biscuits and serving them with either fresh eggs, cheese and optional sausage or berries and whipped cream. I opted for the eggs and told Bob I did not think I could possibly get it in my mouth.

photo by r m dutina

Well look at that BIG mouth!

photos by r m dutina

As you can see for a photo I can eat that with determination! Could not finish it until the next morning for breakfast. It was SO delicious! From scratch sour dough biscuit, 3 eggs fresh from a market vendor, cheese from a market vendor, prepared by Ryan and Jeff with care and attention. I will probably opt for berries and whipped cream next time!

Shel Silverstein summed it up perfectly in his verse about Scale: