Amy Carmichael

For years I have read and re-read Amy Carmichael’s devotional book “The Edges of His Ways.” If I miss a day or two, no worries. I use it as a reference point and will likely hit the reading another year. She served the Lord in South India from 1895 to 1951. (The book is available used and at both Christian Book Distributors and on Amazon. I buy many used books online at Abe Books.)

We have been taught the value of gratitude and how it improves our health. Even Amy knew the power when she reminds us to “hunt the good, make an intentional, deliberate, ongoing effort to tune in to what’s good in your world.”

That is part of what powers this blog, Treasures in Plain Sight; hunting the good, the holy, the hilarious, the somber yet good that comes to each of us. It is there for the finding. We must pay attention to our surroundings.

What have you found lately in your hunting?

The other day I had a short errand to do and it began to pour rain. When I returned I told Bob “There must be a rainbow out there some where, but I could not see it. Rain clouds, pouring rain, sunshine … Likely someone will post on Facebook tonight, “Did you see the rainbow?” Instead of getting frustrated that I did not see one I will be interested to see who found it and what their vantage point was. Hopefully they will post a photo, too! That will be good for my soul.

The Edges of His Ways – how you might find and enjoy the Presence of the Lord on a day to day basis from your community work, from your sickbed, from your musing or prayerful meditation.

The title Edges reminds me of the woman with the issue of blood in the New Testament. As I looked up the reference I found 2 other similar passages. The references are Matthew 9:20, Matthew 14:36 and Mark 6:56.

And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. 21 For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” 22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

Matthew 9:20-22

Mark 6:56 is almost identical. Then Matthew 14:35-36 says

And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, 36 and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.

Matthew 14:35-36

All they wanted to do was touch the hem of His garment. They did not need an audience with the King. Just a touch of His clothing. Many historians and scholars have noted they were not after the actual hem of the fabric, but one of the tassels on the corners.

The word translated, hem, is actually referring to the fringes, or tassels (called tzitziyot, in Hebrew), required to be on the four corners of all clothing of Jewish men, in accordance with God’s instruction:

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: Throughout the generations to come, you are to make tassels on the corners of one’s garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all My commands, and will be consecrated to your God. I am the Lord your God.'”(Numbers 15:37-41)

Website Refiner’s Fire https://www.therefinersfire.org/tallit.htm

How did Jesus do that? I honestly do not know. “As many as touched it were made perfectly well.” We do not have His garment or the tassels. If we did it would likely be down to just thread after centuries of people wanting to touch it. We do, however, have the indwelling Holy Spirit. I can be made better by seeking the Lord and earnestly wanting to touch the hem of His garment. No, my chronic health conditions have not vanished, but He cheers me and guides me in paths of right living and thinking. His word “quickens me.”

Charles Martin has a wonderfully clear description of the tassels in his book What If It’s True? A Storyteller’s Journey with Jesus, chapter two.

If you do not own this book I suggest you purchase it or get it from the library. Ours has both audio and eBook versions as well as the paper one. Chapter two is entitled “We are all bleeders.”

Martin writes: Note the meanings: Cover. Refuge. Deliverance. Trust. Because God is practical and He didn’t want His people to forget, He took this one step further. Brought it closer to home.

God told Moses to have the people make a tassel for each corner of their prayer cloth. Jesus wore this, too.

The crowd shoves, and pushes, and tightens, and she is losing sight of this Man named Jesus of Nazareth. In desperation, she lunges, extends her reach, and grasps the corner of His garment. His shirt. The tassel. The wing. She clings. Holds tightly. He feels the tug. Feels the power leave. She feels it enter.”

Have you sought the Lord, perhaps hunting in His Word, and felt the quickening of your spirit? He is able today to refresh and touch you.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Humility?

The Bible has things to say about humility and the world has many misconceptions of that character trait. Our youngest pastor was speaking about this last week. He was talking about how his young sons try to outdo one another being Dad’s favorite. He was contrasting the kids behavior to the Lord asking us to value others as better than ourselves.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves

Philippians 2:3 NIV

The Lord taught about humility and He modeled humility for us in His life and in His death.

Jesus said, “But if you are as humble as this child, you are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 18:4 CEV

Jesus also said, “All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

Matthew 23:12 NRSV

He (Jesus) humbled himself

    and became obedient to the point of death—

    even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:8 NRSV

Willie Nelson sings this song written by Mac Davis that shows how the world sees humility. Such a far cry from the Word, but humorous none the less.

How do you view humility? According to the Word or Mac Davis and the world?

Kibroth-hattaavah

What? you might be asking? What in the world does that mean?

Then a wind went out from the Lord, and it brought quails from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, about two cubits deep on the ground. 32 So the people worked all that day and night and all the next day, gathering the quails; the least anyone gathered was ten homers; and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. 33 But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very great plague. 34 So that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had the craving. 35 From Kibroth-hattaavah the people journeyed to Hazeroth.

Numbers 11:31-35

The people wandering in the desert were complaining about only having manna to eat. The Lord God had given them a heavenly food, unknown before or since, a food to nourish and sustain them. They complained and he brought them quail to eat. The quail lay all around them about 2 feet deep and the minimum they gathered was “enough to fill the bed of a full sized pickup truck to overflowing, mounded high.” They gathered much more than they could possible eat. Perhaps their plan was to dry them or preserve them with salt? We are not told. No language scholar here, but thankfully the references translate Kibroth-hattaavah for us. It means, the graves of craving. While the meat was still between their teeth, the anger of the Lord was kindled against them. Yikes.

Have you asked the Lord for something other than what you have? Has He given you that very thing? Have you been greedy about it?

Many years ago I was leading a study about these verses. Me, being the Queen of object lessons, decided we needed one for this verse. So we made a tombstone out of “Fimo” type clay that can be baked. Then we took alphabet beads and spelled out the name. Baked it and placed it in a prominent location to help remind us that there are consequences for acting on our cravings. The beads did not hold up well to the baking, but the idea worked.

Grave of Craving

Amused that it is now in my display of tiny things and the carved wooden pliers are pointing to it! (Lord, perhaps pulling out my cravings is like pulling teeth?) And those tiny glass birds could represent the quail, though I did not consciously place them for that. Oh Lord, remove my inordinate cravings with Your holy pliers, I pray.

The grave of cravings. What would you bury in that grave? Or would you be the one in the grave, the one who craved things inordinately and gave in to the greediness of wanting more than needed? I confess, I waver between the two.

 All things are lawful [that is, morally legitimate, permissible], but not all things are beneficial or advantageous. All things are lawful, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life]. 

1 Corinthians 10:23 Amplified

I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 

1 Corinthians 10:23 NIV

Yes, Lent is over and the Easter season continues with rejoicing, Alleluia! That does not mean my self discipline ends. If I crave anything more than God my walk is in jeopardy. Here is a video with a little preaching from Keith Green.

Are you putting cravings to death or are you in the grave of craving? If you are stuck remember “a rut is just a grave with ends kicked out.” Ask the Lord to help you worship Him above all else. He is faithful to do just that.

Are You Full Yet?

Did you get a Chocolate rabbit? What part did you eat first?

Years ago when I saw this in a hospital gift shop I purchased it immediately. Fondly remember my mother teaching us about “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.” Now bunnies demonstrating their limited abilities after someone ate the ears, ate the eyes, ate the mouth. Ha!

Has your Lenten discipline brought you to a new place in your walk with Jesus? Or like so many New Year resolutions have you already forgotten what you were aiming for in what you ‘gave up’ for the 40 days of Lent?

I hope and pray that the Easter Season brings you into a closer and richer fellowship with the One Who died for each of us. He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today!

One of My Poems

Eleven Fifty-three Post Meridiem © 1985 Molly Lin Dutina

Night time and the Unresolved
Come marching to my bedroom
Tramping through my head
Hurling accusations
Quoting words once said
Reason takes a low profile
While logic flees the scene
Where is the solution 
For circumstances now turned mean

Never, shoulds, and woulds
Paint dismal, hopeless scenes
Understanding vanishes
Deep each insult bleeds.

Forgiveness is the answer
That makes the war to cease.
Let it go.    Let go.    Release.
Present moment calls to me
Be NowHere in God's sweet peace

A song can be resung
The past can't be undone
But pouring in forgiveness
The fall-out is made numb

Come to here and now
Feast on today's plenty
In gratitude for all
Dare to now drink deeply 
From streams of joy and love 

We are granted 
Only to 
"Live our lives by moments"
Aren't we now

I doubt if there are many readers who have not had a similar experience. Perhaps before Lent ends this year you can walk through some of those situations asking Jesus to hold your hand and give you insight and understanding towards how to dismantle these painful memories. He is willing to walk with you. Are you willing to expose these unresolved situations to His light and power?

We are in “Holy Week,” the time we Christians focus upon what Jesus endured for our sake and the victory He gained for us. As Matilda Kipfer would ask you, “Did He die in vain? …” regarding your deliverance from the tormenter? Our best life is lived moment by moment in His resurrection power. Twelve steppers know this. Forgiveness. Letting go of wounds and hurts. Releasing those who are “living rent-free in your head.” This letting go idea was known long before the “Frozen” song was popular! That did not come along until much later. The idea has been around for eons.

If you want to drink deeply from the streams of joy and love you may with God’s help. It is best done without the burdens of the Unresolved hanging about your neck.

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, “If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. 38 He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

John 7:37-39 RSV

Granted it would be difficult to illustrate or photograph you getting a drink from the river of Living Water flowing out of your own heart, but you can imagine the refreshment that this young man is gaining from this water. There are times when we thirst for God and this poem illustrates one way to let go of the warfare and enjoy the provision Christ has made for us.

Nothing Impossible

I saw an advertisement recently that used a quote from Audrey Hepburn. I had never heard this one! She said,

I just love that! The word itself says I’m possible. That is just the optimism I believe the Lord had when He created you and me! He makes us possible and He provides what we need to fulfill His plan on the earth.

His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.

2 Peter 1:3-4

He has given us His Son. The power of resurrection life through the sacrifice of Jesus and the indwelling Spirit. Everything we need for life and godliness is ours. Are we taking advantage of the things we have been given? Are we telling ourselves “I’m possible.”

There was a time when it would have been thought impossible that people of color could star in Cinderella, and I would ask “Why not?” There was a time when my mother took my sister for modeling lessons while I stayed home to strip the wax off the kitchen floor on my hands and knees. I called myself “CinderLinda.” (Molly is a nickname.) Yet the following shows how very possible “impossible” things are!

You may have asked God if there is some way He can use you in His Kingdom. I would cheer a resounding, “Yes!!” Our Pastor often quotes Henry Blackaby.

“We don’t choose what we will do for God; He invites us to join Him where He wants to involve us.”

― Henry T. Blackaby, Experiencing God

So have you asked the Father where He wants to involve you? If He shows you where He is working will you be willing to join Him? Even if it is not a place you choose to serve? Are you willing to declare through His power “I’m possible!”

Many years ago the following praise chorus was popular. Praise choruses are a great way to learn Scripture. This one quotes Jeremiah proclaiming praise in The Amplified Bible Jeremiah 17:32. ‘Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! There is nothing too difficult or too wonderful for You—. The outstretched arm is the weakest position. You will get the idea after the first minute!

God can use anyone yielded to Him for the growth and building of His kingdom. The best question is “Are you willing to serve Him?”

Pearls

 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

Matthew 13:45-46
Purported to be the largest pearl ever found

So what do you value the most? The parable says this is what the kingdom of heaven is like …. Do you value the Kingdom and your relationship with the Trinity above everything else? Would you give everything you have to get this pearl?

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.”

Matthew 6:33

Jesus said the above after telling the people not to worry about clothing or food or anything else. If we are willing to seek Him, the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, we will have everything else we need.

St. Isaac of Syria, from the 600s, continues to influence Orthodox spirituality today. He is known as one of the greatest spiritual writers of the Christian East. His writing was suggested to me in 2009. Remarking on this parable he wrote:

A swimmer dives into the sea naked, in order to find a pearl.

A wise monk journeys through life, stripped of all that he has, to find within himself the pearl, Jesus Christ, and finding him, he no longer seeks to acquire anything else beside him.

Daily Readings with St. Isaac of Syria

I believe the first thing we stumble over in this pursuit is naked, or stripped of all that he has. We are simply way too attached to our things. If you were from Ukraine right now you would either be putting your life on the line for your country or running for your life with few, if any, possessions. Are we willing to turn loose of our hold on possessions so we might grasp the Lord firmly as our source of life and reason for living?

Have you forgotten –

Naked I came from my mother’s womb,

and naked I will leave this life.

Job 1:20a

The saying goes “You can’t take it with you” but what if you turned loose of the all-encompassing life-draining drive for power and possessions now? It is unlikely you will move to a barren wasteland and become a desert father or mother. You could however focus your life upon the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. You could pursue this pearl of great price and find treasure you never suspected was available to you in 2022. Never will the question be answered in your own heart unless you experiment with opening your hand, letting go of the tenacious grasp of things, so you can grab hold of the Lord.

Do you have a Halloween store near you? Once when I was having difficulty turning loose of my teenage children the Lord had me buy a rubber hand like the ones below.

I took it home and easily cut off the red line of ‘blood.” I placed it palm up on my dashboard. The Lord had said I could turn my kids loose to Him or He could pry them out of my hands. Every time the car hit a bump those fingers would vibrate and wiggle. Yes, it was a clear object lesson for me and it made me laugh to boot. God has such a sense of humor!

Perhaps you need to visit the local part supply store and get a hand for yourself? Turn loose of a few obsessions first, trusting that He is able to be in charge of those. Then a few more things. Then a few more, filling your time and mind with His word and presence. He is able to inspire and help you with this if only you will ask.

Yield to Him and find out what He has in mind.

Total Surrender

It was perhaps 1981 when I read Freedom From a Self-centered Life/Dying to Self Selections from the writings of William Law, edited by Andrew Murray. Page 91 reads:

When God created man, to find his blessedness in entire dependence upon Him, and in receiving all life and goodness each moment from Him, humility was the one condition of his continuing in that blessed state. When man disobeyed and fell it was self-exaltation that drew him from God and became the ruling power of his life and the cause of all sin and wretchedness. When Christ became man it was to restore in humanity that blessed dependence upon God: by His humble, meek, patient resignation to God to atone for our sin and create anew in us the nature of man before the fall.

From morning to night – you want to begin every day very definitely with an Act of humility, recognizing it as the first duty of the day and of your life to get into the right place of dependence before God, in meek, patient, humble resignation to Him.

Freedom from a Self-centered Life

Entire dependence upon God. What a concept and it can be ours in 2022! Meek, patience, humble resignation to Him. Why? Because Isaiah 55:8 is true. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways higher than our ways. Because Jeremiah 17:9-10 is also true.

The heart is devious above all else;
    it is perverse—
    who can understand it?
I the Lord test the mind
    and search the heart,
to give to all according to their ways,
    according to the fruit of their doings.

Praying about this all those years ago a melody and a verse came to me. it goes like this.

Total Surrender ©2018 Molly Lin Dutina 
Total surrender brings total power; 
Spirit of Christ in me, 
Totally yielded to Thee every hour, 
Until Thy will I see. 

Death to my passions and every desire, 
Living wholly for Thee. 
Have Thine own way, 
Spirit of love, 
Totally flow through me. 

Entire dependence upon Him. Dan Cooksey taught a course called The Shepherd’s Staff. In the midst of that course he emphasized the same idea. I adapted it to what I am to say to Jesus if I am to remain part of the Bride of Christ. The traditional marriage ceremony words are “I do.” Dan taught us I stands for Intimacy, D stand for Dependence, and O stands for Obedience.

As part of the Bride of Christ I live my life practicing Intimacy with Christ, Dependence upon Him and Obedience to what He asks me to do. Total Surrender. I DO.

Oh Lord, draw us closer and closer to Your heart. Help us to bring You joy and delight as we live our lives in and through You.

Lenten Surrender

Surrender: 1.To relinquish possession or control of (something) to another because of demand or compulsion. 2. To give up in favor of another, especially voluntarily

Has Lent been leading you to a place of surrender? Have you discovered that God’s ways are better than your ways, God’s thoughts higher than your thoughts? Do you have a hope of eternity with Him? An eye towards the future in the grandest sense?

The Book of Common Prayer in the service for Ash Wednesday (March 2, of this year) reminds us why Lent is celebrated.

Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.

“I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.

How does this apply now? We are in the midst of the Lenten season. Easter is celebrated this year on April 17. Perhaps you do not attend a liturgical church or any church whatsoever? You can still observe Lent with the Lord our Savior. Keep a holy Lent by self-examination and repentance. I was terrible at this years ago. I knew all about self-castigation and beating myself up for things, so I feared this idea of self-examination. What if I got into it and could not find my way out again to joyful fellowship with Christ? Self-examination as I now understand it has to do with looking at the hopes Jesus has for me and how I actually live. Confess my wrongs, receive forgiveness and move on, returning to fellowship with Him. Brother Lawrence said to return to fellowship quickly!

Prayer, fasting and self-denial. Pray without ceasing (1Thessalonians 5:17) is something I aim for daily. Gets harder after 4 PM when I feel worse physically, but I keep pursuing the goal. Fasting this year, I am fasting from too many words. Fasting from thinking, like Catherine Marshall did, that my opinion on everything counts. Self-denial goes right with that too many words. I am trying to give up thinking I must have the last word on any topic. Reading and meditating on God’s Word. There is no excuse for me here. I have tapped into Bible gateway to help with that. Many of the versions they provide can be read to you. So whether I am cooking or walking the dog, I can listen to those 5 chapters of Psalms a day or one chapter of Proverbs. No excuses as long as my phone is charged! One way of meditating on the Word.

I ran into a person last week who balked in fear at the idea of Christians meditating. We are to center our thoughts, prayers and being upon the Word. How can that be wrong? Center yourself with “Maranatha”, Our Lord, come! (1 COR 16:22) or using your breath “Inhale: He must increase, Exhale, I must decrease.” (John 3:30). Meditate upon the Word. Listen for His instruction.

One thing that drew me to the Episcopalians in 1965 was the idea cited in this Lenten invitation: “And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.” The many churches I had visited read Psalms and spoke about kneeling before the Lord our God, but I never saw them bend a knee. The Episcopalians did. Regularly. Every service in prayer.

Back to surrender.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV
Open Hands — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

We come to a place of genuine surrender when we realize the Lord has thoughts and ways that are continually higher than ours, better than ours, more life giving than ours. Have you heard the concept about parenting that when a child misbehaves after they have time to reflect on their misdeed you should ask the child what the punishment should be? Usually they choose something more harsh than we had in mind. So, too, is our life with God. His first choice is almost always to bring us to a place of life and that more abundantly. Not more things, but a richer, more authentic, Christ-like life.

Have your Lenten practices shown you areas where you fall short? Mine have. My prayer is that these revelations about myself will carry over into my Easter celebration and into the remainder of my life.

Matilda Taught Me So Much!!

Our church recently announced a program where older women will be given an intentional opportunity to mingle with younger women. I was stirred in my spirit to pursue that. I also was reminded almost instantly of Matilda Kipfer. I know! Not a name you are likely to forget! Matilda Kipfer influenced my life in many ways. I heard her as a speaker at a Cincinnati Women’s Aglow meeting years ago, probably 1984?

She always called herself an ordinary woman. She taught us ways to pray constantly. “When you wash the China, pray for China. When you vacuum the carpet pray asking the Glory of God to spread over the room. When you make a bed ask the Holy Spirit to touch the one who sleeps there.” No, she never mentioned Brother Lawrence, but she understood his concepts thoroughly.

I was amazed to realize she shared the same birthday as my mother, though my mother was 14 years older than Matilda!

She often lamented “I was forty-three years old before I knew that God was excited on the day of my birth.” Then she would get excited over the love and mercy of God rejoicing over us all. She was one of His best cheerleaders! I learned recently that she died January 6, 2021 at the age of 92. The world is not as bright a place with her loss. But you could go forward teaching and practicing your faith like she did!

Part of her obituary read: “Matilda was a devout Christian, actively serving in her local Mennonite Church. In the 1970’s Matilda became President of the Buffalo Chapter of Women’s Aglow, and eventually served as a board member of Women’s Aglow International. The world opened up to her and she traveled extensively, spreading the gospel, and teaching women to discover their destiny. She was a true pioneer for women in ministry. She had speaking engagements in every state in the US and every province in Canada at least twice. Her travels led her as far as China, Sri Lanka, Israel, Egypt, the Philippines and many countries in between.”

 Likewise, tell the older women to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be self-controlled, chaste, good managers of the household, kind, being submissive to their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited.

Titus 2:3-5 NRSV

I must agree with the Lord in saying well done, good and faithful servant! You are missed.

She also wrote a book “Uniquely His, Love Matilda” which I just ordered from Abe Books. If you are interested you should try ordering it from Abe Books online.

With her extended family ( 14th child of 14), her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren Matilda experienced many things that we also wrestle with. She especially liked to teach about ‘having a bad attitude.’ Speaking of attitudes she would mimic a sheep saying “Baaa-d attitude.”

She would tell the women that if they were not willing to forgive every slight, hurt and disappointment quickly, then they were giving ground to develop a bad attitude. In contrast, having a good attitude, staying clean in your heart and mind before God, blessings from heaven would shower you and those around you. 2 Corinthians 10:5b says “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

She prayed that letters would be filled with the Light of Christ. That the Holy Spirit would go before her in each meeting and encounter with others. When her son was leaning towards ways of the world she would pray over his bed. She asked God to come to him in dreams and show him the path of life. God did.

So this ordinary woman who never quoted Brother Lawrence knew how to practice the presence of God. She said that once she came to know the Holy Spirit she learned that God really does want us to to the New Testament teachings. Love one another (1 John 4:7-8)

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20

Choose life in every situation that develops in your realm. Over and over again choose life. If your husband is depressed, choose life and speak prayers for him choosing life. If your kids are rebellious, choose life. And focus on the life God wants to give them. Positive prayers can direct others towards positive paths. Not some magic hocus-pocus, but speaking life over them. Not focusing on what they are doing that you do not like, but placing the focus on what God calls them to do.

The gospel of Christ is simple and we complicate it many times over. Matilda knew a the simplicity of Christ. She taught those simple ways. That is not to say her life was easy. Certainly not. And our lives are not easy either! Knowing Christ is with us and can give us the words to pray through the Holy Spirit gives us confidence and courage. Pray with your spirit and your mind (1 Corinthians 14:15), Jesus is made unto us wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30), and best of all …

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

Romans 8:11

Obviously I could go on and on. I would ask that you try relating to God as Matilda did. She knew that left to herself she would never get it right. She cried out to God for wisdom and insights. If you cannot relate to Brother Lawrence form the 1600s, perhaps you can related to Matilda Jantzi Kipfer Feb. 7, 1928 – Jan. 6, 2021. She rests in peace in her reward from Christ. This woman declares, well done, good and faithful servant!

And how blessed all those in whom you live, whose lives become roads you travel; They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks, discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain! God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and at the last turn—Zion! God in full view!

Psalm 84:5-7 The Message