Winter Musings © Molly Lin Dutina

The snow was not what we had expected
A layer of warm air turned much of it to ice pellets instead
So less snow, but more noise
At one point it sounded like skeletal fingers tapping
On the sliding glass door
Even the dog wondered who was there.

Today is chop, chop, scoop and lift 
As we hurry to clear the driveway as best we can
Sun will help to dry the pavement before
The next set of snow clouds descend
Winter says “Bring it on!”

Cedars holding dollops of snow
Of marshmallow
Of vanilla ice cream
Pure gelato gone huge
Cedars bent by the
Weight of winter deliciousness

And we, right now, are in Maui! We yield to each season, Lord!

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
    where morning dawns, where evening fades,
    you call forth songs of joy.

Psalm 65:8 NIV

May First Verse

May First ©Molly Lin Dutina

It was a quiet, cloudy morning
Stillness embracing early morn
Then I heard a creaking of the siding
A tossing of the saplings
Turned to bending of the decades old trees
As a ‘mighty rushing wind’ passed through
And almost as quickly the trees returned to stillness

A few moments later another gust came 
It seemed determined to be a steady blowing
Rain came flying past my window 
The wind became a gentle breeze
The music of raindrops overtook the wind
And May 1st was declared by the heavens

The wind, the rain, it all stopped as suddenly as it began
Bird song is heard again
Strange yellow/gray sky as sun rises higher
Wrestling with the spring weather front
Newly emerged maple leaves
Soft in coloring cling to their branch in the breeze
Help me cling to You, Jesus my source of life

Most Recent Poem

I was having a spiritual struggle and one person or the spirit from one person seemed to be the biggest challenge. I could not name the spirit but I knew it was there. Finally it was apparent I needed to get alone with the LORD and have a prayer time to throw this thing off. I was prepared to spend many hours if necessary, but surprisingly it only took a couple hours. This is the resultant poem.

Rooftops ©23-4-20 Molly Lin Dutina

Above the rooftops
Beyond my thoughts and dreams
You move by Your Spirit
Unseen yet beyond powerful
Invited by my yieldedness
You ask no invitation
Welcomed by my obedience
You come cleanse my house
Straightening my crooked paths
Wayward thinking
Thoughts that give negative entrance
You swing the Mighty Sword of Spirit
Sweeping away all hindrance
To Your will and ways.

Above the rooftop of my hair
(Which You have numbered every strand)
Your towering angels like ancient trees
Stand guard to alert me to invasion
I am kept by a love divine
I dwell under the shadow of the Almighty
Your wings enfold and embrace me
If I go astray You shepherd me back
If necessary You will even carry my smelly self
Returning me to the fold
Feeding me with the finest food
Brushing out the tangles in my wool
For You love me
You even pour Your love 
Like a bucket of soapy water
Throughout my heart by Your Spirit
No shame remains
After You work within me

May your week be filled with time for prayer and the rewards of having been in His presence.

Poetry and Pain

In church one morning I was drawn to the cry of a baby some place in the congregation. I did not get upset or distressed by it. I seem to be naturally drawn to all babies everywhere. This baby spoke to my soul. Here is the verse that followed that hearing.

Tiny Baby in the Background© 2014 Molly Lin Dutina

Tiny baby in the background
crying, crying
and I am drawn to her
as the tiny baby inside me
cries write it, write it

Struggling under the fog of constant pain
drugs, drugs, 
distraction to nth degree
rock that baby and hold her
comfort her, rock her

Unconditional love and kindness
will prove again the victor
as, given time,
the words will come
Be at peace

I am not usually drugged in order to cope with the chronic pain. Obviously I was that day in 2014.

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!

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.

King of the Canopy ©1988, 2014 Molly Lin Dutina

We have more mighty wind storms this year than Bob and I can ever remember. Starting to think this too is a result of climate change? Seeing so many fallen trees the last couple months reminded me of this poem. Enjoy!

High in the canopy of the forest
	In one of the tallest trees
Four buds set themselves
On the end of a twig.

Sealed tight with scales
	They set themselves firmly
	Determined to survive the winter’s
	Thaw and freeze, thaw and freeze.

Then the unthinkable happened
The unimaginable,
 not even remotely pondered, occurred.

In that last big wind storm
	When we wondered what 
	Might be happening in the woods ….
This mighty home of the buds fell.
King of the canopy came tumbling down with a groan
And crash
Many splintering sounds as
The hollow trunk gave way to wind and decay.

The young saplings braced themselves
As branches flew past,
	Rubbing trunks
	Leaving lost members lodged in other’s forks.
The creak and the crash unsettled
The whole forest as small critters
Ran out of the tumbling parts’ way
Wondering why the canopy 
Would want to visit the floor?

With a sigh the mighty giant
Folded into the contours of the forest floor
And lay still in the windy gusts
The four buds, sealed tight, 
waiting for the spring sun to call them forth,
cling to the twig at my eye level now.

There’s a strange new light now
As we walk this bend in the forest.
Sunbeams pour in on a cloudless day asking
“Who will next attempt the role of
King of the Canopy? Come forth! Come forth!”
How many other buds of last year’s canopy 
have become a white tail’s fodder?

Just Silliness

Is a hearse on a tow truck twice dead? Not what Scripture teaches:

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment

Hebrew 9:27 KJV

“Going to hell in a hand basket.” Now wait a minute. you cannot fit very much into a hand basket! Maybe a dozen eggs; certainly not a person! If you study the idiom, it means is to be rapidly deteriorating – on course for disaster.

Sign said, “Right on red arrow after stop.” Explain that to me! Lane only goes left.

And for a snippet of poetry:
The moon smeared the cloud strips with a large brush
She used a small brush to paint through my window

Watchman Nee – Footholds #1

I am uncertain when I first read books by Watchman Nee, but he has had an impact upon my walk with Christ. This wise man from China has influenced many with his understanding of life with the Risen Lord. Here is a sight that tells more about his life and suffering for Christ.

In 2017 I copied this quote from Watchman Nee.

“Since we belong to God, Satan intends to frustrate, afflict or suppress us and allow us no foothold. This is his aim, although his aim may not be achieved because we may approach the throne of grace by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus, asking for God’s protection and care.”

From Prayer That Resists Satan by Watchman Nee

That is a long to-do list for our enemy: frustrate, afflict, suppress and allow us NO foothold. Have you experienced these road blocks in your personal life? Whew! To not know frustration in this day and age might be a miracle in itself! Seriously though, would you reflect upon your life with Christ the past 12-14 months? Have you seen a pattern of any of those activities against you? Nee said it is the aim of the enemy to stop or slow your progress with the truth, but his aim may not be achieved because of the Blood of Jesus and God’s protection over us. Would you tailor your prayers to ask God for His protection and open your eyes to see His work in your midst?

The enemy of God wants no place for a foothold where the Gospel may influence life.

Are you making footholds for the Truth to grow?

Nevertheless, very few Christians consider the third aspect – that of Satan – in their prayer. The aim of a true prayer touches on not just personal gain (sometimes this aspect is not even thought of) but more importantly on the glory of God and the loss of the enemy. They do not reckon their own welfare to be of prime importance. They instead consider their prayer to be highly successful if it will cause Satan to lose and God to be glorified. What they look for in their prayer is the enemy’s loss. Their view is not restricted to their immediate environment but they take as their perspective God’s work and will in the whole world. Yet let me add that this is not to suggest that they only take into account the aspects of God and Satan and entirely forget the personal aspect of prayer. As a matter of fact, when God’s will is done and Satan suffers loss they will unquestionably be profited themselves. The spiritual progress of a saint can therefore be judged by the emphasis to be seen in his prayer.

From Prayer That Resists Satan by Watchman Nee

Not too many of us reveal the heart of our prayers to others. In fact, it is difficult to get most Christians to pray aloud in a Christian group! But God knows our hearts and He knows our prayers. Maybe you can pray for footholds for the Gospel to be created wherever your feet walk. Then walk as if you intend to offer those footholds to the Lord for His use.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Mark 16:15 NIV

And Saint Francis added, “Use words if necessary.”

Some January Poetry

Winter © Molly Lin Dutina 23-1-8

Gloomy grays and browns
Grass looks winter burned
Clouds packed solid black
but wait!
The sycamores are all spangled
With seed balls moving in breeze
Winter in southwestern Ohio
I grasp at any sign of hope and 
Future joy in the next season.

Another ride on a winter afternoon brought this.

Gray Clouds Roof © Molly Lin Dutina 23-1- 18

Corn field stubble alternates
Ivory and beige, ivory and beige, in rows
As we speed past on highway
January wind rattles barn walls
Livestock not to be seen from my window
As gray clouds roof each farm

Can you imagine this? Would you be able to praise like this? We read in Daniel 3:16, 19 and on that the King wanted absolutely obedience to himself. “King Nebuchadnezzar was so filled with rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face was distorted. He ordered the furnace heated up seven times more than was customary, and ordered some of the strongest guards in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to throw them into the furnace of blazing fire. So the men were bound, still wearing their tunics, their trousers, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the furnace of blazing fire.” While in this furnace the men began to praise God, knowing that He was more powerful than the king ever thought about being. Here is a portion of their praise.

“Bless the Lord, all rain and dew;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
65 Bless the Lord, all you winds;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
66 Bless the Lord, fire and heat;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
67 Bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
68 Bless the Lord, dews and falling snow;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
69 Bless the Lord, ice and cold;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
70 Bless the Lord, frosts and snows;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Daniel 3:64-70 NRSV

They were eventually saved from the fire. This reading comes up often in the Daily Office and Canticles of from the Book of Common Prayer. There are times I wish my current church would use those to remind us of God’s power and glory! As you drive about this winter remember that all the seasons and elements are called to praise the Lord. We are, too!