Hymns Sum It Up Best At Times!

The lyric below was written in 1680 or 90 by Joachim Neander. Sometimes this hymn will rise up within me as we walk and enjoy the spring in Ohio, Kentucky or Tennessee.

 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise him, for he is your health and salvation!
Come, all who hear; now to his temple draw near,
join me in glad adoration.

Sung by one of my favorite artists!

How could we possibly experience spring and wonder if there is a Creator?

Listen to the song again and as you read (or sing) the lyrics, address them to the LORD!


In the churches there has been a tradition of celebrating the resurrection of Christ, not just on one day but an entire festal season right to Pentecost Sunday, after the Lord Jesus ascended to heaven and the promised Holy Spirit was given to the disciples. I challenge you to worship the Lord Jesus for His powerful sacrifice on our behalf. His resurrection power lives in us. Let us praise Him for the entire Eastertide this year!!The song lyrics below capture that in so many ways for me!

What A Beautiful Name by Hillsong Worship

You were the Word at the beginning 
One with God the Lord Most High 
Your hidden glory in creation 
Now, revealed in You our Christ

What a beautiful Name it is, what a beautiful Name it is 
The Name of Jesus Christ my King 
What a beautiful Name it is, nothing compares to this 
What a beautiful Name it is, the Name of Jesus

You didn’t want heaven without us 
So Jesus, You brought heaven down 
My sin was great, Your love was greater 
What could separate us now?

What a wonderful Name it is, what a wonderful Name it is 
The Name of Jesus Christ my King 
What a wonderful Name it is, nothing compares to this 
What a wonderful Name it is, the Name of Jesus 
What a wonderful Name it is, the Name of Jesus

How sweet is Your Name, Lord, how good You are) 
We love to sing in Your Name, Lord, love to sing of who You are

Death could not hold You, the veil tore before You 
You silenced the boast of sin and grave 
The Heavens are roaring the praise of Your glory 
For You are raised to life again

You have no rival, You have no equal 
Now and forever, God, You reign 
Yours is the Kingdom, Yours is the Glory 
Yours is the Name above all names

What a powerful Name it is, what a powerful Name it is 
The Name of Jesus Christ my King 
What a powerful Name it is, nothing can stand against 
What a powerful Name it is, the Name of Jesus

You have no rival, You have no equal 
Now and forever, God, You reign 
Yours is the Kingdom, Yours is the Glory 
Yours is the Name above all names

What a powerful Name it is, what a powerful Name it is 
The Name of Jesus Christ my King 
What a powerful Name it is, nothing can stand against 
What a powerful Name it is, the Name of Jesus

What a powerful Name it is, the Name of Jesus 
What a powerful Name it is, the Name of Jesus

Written by: Ben Fielding, Brooke Ligertwood

My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,
    and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
when I think of you on my bed
    and meditate on you in the watches of the night,
for you have been my help,
    and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
    your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:5-8 NRSVUE

Resurrection Sunday

Sometimes when I was growing up I got to go to sunrise service on Easter morning. I think my favorite one was held at French Park in Cincinnati. The weather was often chilly and even at times rainy, but we were determined to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord as the sun came up!

My mother worked for many years at a flower shop in Norwood, Ohio. One year she brought home some purple hyacinths and plucked each flower off, wrapped it in wet cotton, wired and taped it. Then she assembled them as an Easter corsage for me. To this day the fragrance of purple hyacinths remind me of her. Though she lived a troubled life I believe her faith in Christ took her to be with Him when her life on earth ended.

None of these things help my soul celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus as much as my gratitude lists. When Ann Voskamp wrote One Thousand Gifts I wonder if she knew how the practice would revolutionize the American Christian church? Certainly it changed her life, but do we ever truly know the impact our writing will have upon others? I wonder.

Have you practiced writing down the gifts in your life that Christ Jesus has bestowed upon you? Have you given Him thanks this Easter? Here are some of my thanksgivings.

  • Sunshine
  • Rain in due season
  • Salvation for my soul
  • You give strength to hearts that are true to You
  • Your righteous shall live by faith
  • our home
  • the longevity of my marriage
  • Justice that rolls down and righteousness as an ever-flowing stream
  • God with us
  • You know the hairs upon our heads
  • The Convent of the Transfiguration
  • my sisters in Journey Together in Stitches
  • crochet and knit group at senior center
  • Your Spirit that gives me life
  • Your breath in our lives
  • My children
  • My grandchildren
  • Laundry now on first floor
  • small gardens to delight my soul
  • the bluebirds at the office window
  • rabbits in Angela’s yard
  • Grogu to make me smile
  • Noodle the Corgi that makes me smile
  • music
  • music memories from over the years
  • The Holy Spirit speaking in my soul
  • My Bible and Bible Gateway tool
  • Rheude’s small group
  • Lucky learning to play with her toys
  • Cooking
  • Great Smoky Mountains and spring wildflowers there
  • Medical care
  • freedom of religion
  • clouds
  • spring peepers
  • gifts
  • dark chocolate
  • coconut!
  • travels we have done
  • travel planned to Hawaii
  • blogging friends
  • New Mexico friends
  • Neighbors who are friends
  • running water in our home
  • crocheting
  • sewing for our home and others
  • museums of art
  • Cincinnati Nature Center
  • red winged blackbirds
  • butterflies
  • armor of God
  • Abraham’s example of faith and obedience
  • Andrew Peterson’s music
  • Learning to be a living sacrifice
  • loving husband
  • forgiveness
  • the Great I am
  • firemen
  • police officers
  • electronic books from the library
  • my sister
  • pinwheels
  • soap bubbles
  • even to old age He will keep me
  • black licorice
  • Spirit of God who raised Christ from the dead LIVES in us
  • I can entrust my soul to my faithful creator
  • iPad with keyboard
  • ear buds for listening while walking the dog
  • Living Water
  • Seashells
  • heating pad
  • ocean sounds
  • He walks with me and talks with me
  • rainbow in the sky reminds me of rainbow around the throne
  • the Psalms
  • friends serving in Nepal
  • New Covenant in my mind and on my heart
  • Jesus is made unto me wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption
  • “Pajama church” when you can’t make it to service
  • His still small voice
  • Bob’s sense of humor
  • a good fresh salad
  • piano music
  • people I know I can ask to pray – knowing they will do it
  • cellos
  • live drama performances
  • good ham salad
  • music by Brandon Lake
  • writing poetry
  • Mizithra cheese sauce on angel hair spaghetti
  • broccoli slaw, just yum
  • Spirit of God helps me write

That is my partial list. How about you? Get a little notebook and begin to list your praises and things you are grateful for! It will work wonders for you 🙂

Death could not hold Him!

Holy Saturday

This day is another time for reflection before the Resurrection Celebration. According to Britannica “The observance commemorates the final day of Christ’s death, which is traditionally associated with his triumphant descent into hell.”

The Apostles Creed says”He descended into hell and on the third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven.”

He rested on the seventh – God rested.

The video below linked with Andrew Peterson’s music really touches my spirit.

Many churches celebrate an Easter Vigil with prayers and baptisms, lighting of a fire, etc. I think I prefer Peterson’s reflection. I am unaware of anyone making music about what Jesus did when He descended into hell. We know from Scripture He set the captives free.

Whatever you believe about His death, what He did before He resurrected, how His ascension takes place, I pray you will put your trust in Him. He is able to prove Himself to you, even you.

Here is an animation of one person’s idea of Holy Saturday. Yes, it is six minutes long, but I think they captured the ideas wonderfully. Hope you will watch it.

May this last day of Holy Week provide time and quiet for you as you prepare to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus!

Lent is Coming to a Close

How has your Lenten discipline been going? I awoke one morning with an interesting insight I want to share with you. During Lent we try to become aware of our weaknesses and God’s strength to aid us. We choose disciplines to help us move consciously towards the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as our Paschal lamb and the subsequent celebration of His mighty resurrection on our behalf. Up from the grave He arose! And we rejoice.

Throughout the year we sing about the Power in His blood. Good Friday we reflect upon His blood shed for us. The water and the blood from His pierced side. His sacrifice compared to the blood of goats and bulls (Hebrews 9-10).

The blood of Christ is important and we need to understand the excruciating death He suffered and why. Too many of us have gotten stuck right there. I think God wants us to think beyond the Blood of Christ. Why did He die for us? What was His promise about His death. God’s version of “There is more to the story.”

In John 16:5 Jesus begins to explain to the disciples about the Holy Spirit by saying ” I am going to him who sent me.”

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 

John 16:7 NIV

Jesus knew that the presence of the Advocate with us is better than His walk alongside us on earth.

 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.

John 16:13-14

We might never understand the full significance of these three verses. We do know from the discourse in John 16 that Jesus is teaching beyond His suffering, crucifixion and resurrection. He is teaching about the Holy Spirit, Advocate, Spirit of Truth dwelling within us. This is a consequence of Him shedding His blood for us.

The disciples did not grasp the meaning when He first taught this. He was beaten, crucified, died and was buried on our behalf. He rose again and was seen by the disciples and many others. He bestows His Holy Spirit on those who believe in Him and love Him. Many of us to this day do not grasp the meaning of His words.

There was a song in the 1980s that told of the battle between Jesus and satan, God the Father being the mediator of that battle. Satan is surprised about the outcome. You see, Jesus went to heaven, but by indwelling His disciples, He walks that earth in millions through the centuries.

Now the final blow saved for the final round.
Prophetically Christ's hands came down
And Satan struck in vengeance!
The blow of death felled Jesus to the ground.

The devils roared in victory!
The saints shocked and perplexed as wounds appeared upon His hands and feet.
Then Satan kicked Him in His side, and blood and water flowed.
And they waited for the 10 count of defeat.

God the Father turned His head,
His tears announcing Christ was dead!
The 10 count would proclaim the battle's end.
Then Satan trembled through his sweat in unexpected horror, yet...
As God started to count by saying,
"Hey wait a minute, God..." "...9..." "Stop! You're counting wrong..."
His eyes are moving...
His fingers are twitching...
"Where's all this Light coming from?"
"He's alive!"
"Oh - nooooo!"
"And yet,"
"Oh... Yessssss!
He has won!
He has won!
He's alive forevermore!
He is risen, He is Lord,
He has won!
He has won!
He's alive forevermore,
He is risen!
He is Lord!

Proclaim the news in every tongue,
Through endless ages and beyond
Let it be voiced from mountains loud and strong
Captivity has been set free, salvation bought for you and me
'Cause Satan is defeated,
And Jesus is The Champion
Written by: Thomas Allan Flowers, Richard C. Ivanisevich, Douglas James Eldridge

Album: The Champion             Released: 1987

Andrew Peterson captured the same miracle with the song “His Heart Beats.” Part of those lyrics are:

He rises, glorified in flesh
Clothed in immortality, the firstborn from the dead
He rises, and His work's already done
So He's resting as He rises to reclaim the Bride He won
And His heart beats

So crown Him the Lord of Life
Crown Him the Lord of Love
Crown Him the Lord of All

He took one breath
And put death to death
Where is your sting, O grave?
How grave is your defeat
I know, I know His heart beats

Are you willing to embrace His sacrifice and let Him live in and through you? I pray your disciplines have led you to a point of surrender to Jesus in every way, shape and form.

Easter is around the Corner!

During the pandemic many choirs picked up this song by Andrew Peterson and created videos on YouTube. I just have to share it with you again to bring honor to our Christ! I just love Andrew’s smile in the top video. There is more than one person shedding tears during this song. Yes, there are 3 versions! Why not? Review the lyrics and confirm your heart in the truth! So many Scriptures in this song!!

Pandemic Version
Youth Version

A W Tozer Quote

Years ago I studied A W Tozer. Recently I was shown his work again through the daily devotions sent out by The Navigators (https://give.navigators.org/email-devotions/) This so reminded me of the time I brought the Word to women at City Gospel Mission. It was about 1986?

If we would find God amid all the religious externals we must first determine to find Him, and then proceed in the way of simplicity. Now as always God discovers Himself to “babes” and hides Himself in thick darkness from the wise and the prudent. We must simplify our approach to Him. We must strip down to essentials (and they will be found to be blessedly few). We must put away all effort to impress, and come with the guileless candor of childhood. If we do this, without doubt God will quickly respond.

The Pursuit of God, A W Tozer

While the church I attended discussed things like contemporary music for worship in contrast to an organ and a box of hymnals, I was downtown once a week teaching the women at the Mission. Tozer says simplify. I argued that Paul never had an organ, or a box of hymnals nor made any reference to music that I recalled. I wish I had kept better records of names and dates, but basically the lead pastor at teh Mission wanted someone to lead a weekday Bible Study for women. We met in the basement, near the kitchen of the Mission. There was an interesting fragrance down there. Likely from years of meals prepared since the 1920s!

The Mission was founded in 1924 by James N. Gamble of the company Proctor & Gamble, most likely founded in the same building I taught in. (They have a new facility now on Dalton Street.)

Teaching in this room with a concrete floor and block walls was before the jail ministry I participated in, but so similar. The difference here was the women who attended were all free citizens. Most attended to receive better access to food donations but some genuinely loved God and enjoyed the fellowship. Some of them would holler out, “Preach it!” or “Preach it sister!” On one occasion a woman who was drunk attended. She got up on a folding chair and tried to out speak me. I immediately began to pray in my spirit and ask the Lord to hush her. The other participants also told her to sit and hush. Eventually she did. An eye-opening experience indeed for this suburban white girl.

There were times when I needed to drop something off at my sister’s house on my way home from downtown. I told the Lord one week, “This is almost more than I can handle! Shifting my gears from City Gospel Mission to Indian Hill”, (neighborhood of high prosperity and generational wealth). He reminded me that all of us were just people no matter the outside garb or residence.

13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, 

Jeremiah 29:13-14a NIV

Tozer says if we are “to find God we must first DETERMINE to find Him and then proceed in the way of simplicity.” I found God in the midst of the City Gospel Bible study attendees. Those women who wholeheartedly pronounced, “Preach it, Sister!” were my cheerleaders and friends in the Spirit. I prayed the inebriated woman would also seek Him and find Him even if not through my lessons. God ‘discovers Himself to babes and hides Himself from the wise and prudent.” The Mission women knew more about God than most people I met in Indian Hill. Mind you, not all of the Indian Hill folks were ignorant of God and His ways; however, the women of the lower income downtown area seemed to me to walk with Him more closely than the rich. I do not claim to read hearts though.

Tozer says we must ‘simplify our approach to God, strip down to essentials, put away effort to impress’ and come with the candor of childhood. Tozer was a wise and an excellent teacher. I am still working on stripping down to the essentials with God, simplifying my approach.

Years later I worked at a branch of the Mission called “Having the Courage to Change” as secretarial assistant to the Director and coach in discipleship with a couple of the women. That is a story for another day.

I pray for you that the candor of childhood will enhance your search for the LORD God Almighty. He is waiting and watching for you!

Praying for Others

I told you about “Going to Jail,” and perhaps about some wounding I had by the public words of another? I had to repeatedly confess my ill feelings towards her. While recovering from the public wounding, I was reminded there is wisdom in praying blessings that you want for yourself over those who have harmed you.

After I confessed my sins in the situation, I prayed blessings over her as often as she came to mind. Eventually she came to mind less and less often.

I had withdrawn from the group this occurred in. I stated I would return when I was ready, though perhaps less often than in the past.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

2 Peter 1:3-4

Years ago I first heard Kirk Franklin when he produced the song called “Stomp.” Recently someone sent me a link to this music. This song certainly ties both themes all together! Praying blessings upon others and jail ministry. Having just written about “Going to Jail” it touched my heart in a special place. I hope you will take the time to listen to it, even though it might not be your style. As you watch the video I think it will be difficult at times for you to tell the prisoners from the visitors. I even spotted a guard this time!

Will you take up the challenge to pray like this for others who have offended or tried to shame you? Can you imagine the faith these prisoners must have to make themselves this vulnerable in a place reputed for violence? They are singing and praying this for their guards, too! Do you have this sort of trust in God?

Rain and More Rain

I awoke at 4:15 AM and the forecast rain had not yet begun. At 6:20 when woke up again it was pouring. Evidently I slept through the thunder and lightning at 5ish. Bob said Lucky came to him for comfort, (she is terrified of storms). He reached over the side of the bed and pet her trembling furry self for a while. When he stopped she jumped up onto the bed and landed on his face. I slept through it.

As I got my coffee and tried to shake off the sleepiness, I kept thinking of the story from Ezekiel in Chapter 47.

Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple; there, water was flowing from below the threshold of the temple towards the east (for the temple faced east); and the water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. Then he brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me round on the outside to the outer gate that faces towards the east and the water was coming out on the south side.

Going on eastwards with a cord in his hand, the man measured one thousand cubits, and then led me through the water; and it was ankle-deep. Again he measured one thousand, and led me through the water; and it was knee-deep. Again he measured one thousand, and led me through the water; and it was up to the waist. Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross, for the water had risen; it was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be crossed. He said to me, ‘Mortal, have you seen this?’

Then he led me back along the bank of the river. As I came back, I saw on the bank of the river a great many trees on one side and on the other. He said to me, ‘This water flows towards the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah; and when it enters the sea, the sea of stagnant waters, the water will become fresh. Wherever the river goes,[b] every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish, once these waters reach there. It will become fresh; and everything will live where the river goes. 10 People will stand fishing beside the sea from En-gedi to En-eglaim; it will be a place for the spreading of nets; its fish will be of a great many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. 11 But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. 12 On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.’

Ezekiel 47:1-12 NRSVA

No, I do not understand all of the passage; however, John Eldredge also mentions it in his book Resilient. He purports that the water is the provision of God just like in the Living Water mentioned by Jesus in John 7.

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 38 and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.”’

John 7:37-38 NRSVA

Water flowing from the temple Ezekiel saw, water flowing from our hearts. Revelation mentions water flowing from the Throne of God in the new heaven and the earth.

Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. 

Revelation 21:6 NRSVA

In America some of us are currently obsessed with bottled water and where it originates from. I would ask, “Is there a flow of living water in your heart? Where does it originate from? How fresh is it? Does it give life? Have you tended to the stream bed lately?”

“Water as a gift from the spring of the water of life,” that is the water I desire the most! Father help me ask for this water repeatedly from You. Help me use Your living water to refresh myself and others.

Living Sacrifice

This year my focus word is sacrifice. I take that to mean living sacrifice as in Romans 12:1-2

 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, on the basis of God’s mercy, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable act of worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:1-2 NRSV

How would that effect your life? Do you present your body a living sacrifice to God? Do you see yourself as holy and acceptable to God? Do you understand that is your reasonable act of worship?

In the Old Testament, the priests would offer living animals to God as part of the worship of God, cutting them up and offering them on the altar. Paul tells us, however, that God would prefer that we become a living sacrifice, which is far greater. In fact. even under the Old Covenant, God considered obedience to be far better and of greater value to him than any offering of animals (1 Samuel 15:22-23, Palm 40:6-8, Amos 5:21-24.)


How often is our obedience the great feat of the day, the week? Obedience can be difficult because it so often runs counter to our ego, our desire for self-rule in contrast to obedience to God Almighty. Observe your walk this week and try to discern how many times you yield to God’s will and how many times you pursue your own desires first and foremost.

I know many of you do not like loud contemporary music, but listening to even the first 3 minutes of the above video can give you an idea of what I love about Brandon Lake and his worship music.

So from time to time this year I will try to discuss what I discover and experience about trying to learn to live this verse in 2023. May you discover your ‘word for the year’ and learn to live in obedience to what you are called to do with that verse.

The ‘biblestudy.org’ site above offers a few more ideas of how to live Romans 12:1.

I have not put photos with this post as I cannot find one that expresses my heart. May you be blessed with an increased awareness of His presence in you and with you.