Musical Rejoicing Over Jesus’ VICTORY

Celebrate His Victory with me and other Christians around the world.

May you enjoy the resurrection power that flows in your veins and use it only to His glory and honor.

May this, our high, holy holiday be just the beginning of new life for you.

Most of all, may you gain understanding of why Jesus made the sacrifice of His life for you. Truly, He died for you.

No rights

This seemed to me to be fitting for Good Friday reflection. I have no idea who taught me this truth, but it was many years ago. Since I have given my life to Jesus, I have no rights. The life I now live ….

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:19b-20 NRSV

Those who are crucified die. No one gets partially crucified. Jesus wants only our full surrender to Him. When our son was in nursery school (oh about 40+ years ago) I was driving and worshiping one day. I was led to a little hillside cemetery. Imagine my surprise when I, a daughter of God my Father, came upon this headstone.

I realized that this point in my walk was where ‘daughters come to die,’ for “Christ lives in me and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith.” From then on it has been a continuous lesson for me as to what that means. Dead women do not have rights. I do not have the right when I get angry to remain mad. I am to walk like Jesus. Oh, so much to learn! I do not have the right to get my own way. His ways are higher than mine.

 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

who though he was in the form of God,
    did not regard equality with God
    as something to be exploited,
 but emptied himself,
    taking the form of a slave,
    being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
     he humbled himself
    and became obedient to the point of death—
    even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:6-8 NRSV


One writer said, ” It doesn’t matter what you want. The only thing that matters is what God wants.” Patti Callahan wrote a wonderful book entitled Becoming Mrs. Lewis, a fictionalized version of the love story between Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis. I just loved that book and will likely read it again. She mentioned that C. S. Lewis did not have Christianity ‘all figured out.’ He is purported to have said, “It is an unfolding. A constant unfolding to new life – or at its best that’s what it is.”

I get that explanation. Yes, as a child of the King, though I am an inheritor of the Kingdom, I also have to die to my desires and yield to His. Unfold into the right here and right now that God is asking me to walk in and live in.

I combined two ideas recently for my own object lesson. I went on Facebook and asked if anyone locally knew how to make origami. I wanted something to illustrate to me that my life is unfolding. Sure enough, some friends came up with Joe’s name. We found a pattern on line and he was able to make a few of these for me.

“heart box” is open and unfolding

There is another lesson about marbles in a jar representing how many weekends you have left in your life, or working life, obviously I do not remember the details. The point was how are you going to spend that time? So this is what sits on my desk now.

This daughter is finished playing games with God. I want to live truly and fully to His glory. At our house we used to have some marble shooters, you know, the larger marbles you use to shoot the smaller ones in marble games? Well I suppose God has all the marble shooters now since I cannot find ours. That is fine with me. He is in charge of this. I will simply contemplate how well I am using the time I have left with the marbles I have in this unfolding life.

Occasionally I remove them from the paper box, like when I took the photograph for the top of the blog. Ha! yep, you guessed it! They rolled all over the desktop. Thought I had caught them all until I found Lucky trying to chew on one. Goofy toothless beagle. (At this point Bob is likely thinking, “I knew she had lost some of her marbles!”)

I am the daughter. He is my heavenly Father. I am learning to be like Jesus, my Brother. Father is teaching me His will and His ways.

Keepsies Playing for keeps. God gets to keep all the marbles He wins. He is a master at this game! I am His and He is mine. Glorious.

Are you willing to yield to Him, even though it means death to your SELF and your desires? Consider this and respond to His call upon your heart. He is a good, good Father.

Psalm 1

Like a tree planted by streams of water …..

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men’s advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God. But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely. They are like trees along a riverbank bearing luscious fruit each season without fail. Their leaves shall never wither, and all they do shall prosper.

Psalm 1:1-3 Living Bible

We recently got away for a few days. It was so refreshing just to get out of town and break up the daily routine. Whew! When we arrived at our room it was gloomy, early evening and beginning to rain. We did not notice much outside our windows except for a pond/lake. The next morning I could not wait to get outside when I saw this!

I had already been thinking for a few days about Psalm 1 and the tree planted by the streams of water. Been wondering how to write about that tree theme and there it was!

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord,

    whose trust is the Lord.

They shall be like a tree planted by water,

    sending out its roots by the stream.

It shall not fear when heat comes,

    and its leaves shall stay green;

in the year of drought it is not anxious,

    and it does not cease to bear fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 NRSV

The willow tree! Her lower branches almost touch the water.

There was a willow tree that grew on the edge of Kuhner’s field. I played there when I was growing up. Daffodils, a stream and a willow tree. Land snails that left me their discarded shells. I was close to heaven there. I used to play under the branches of the willow assuming that no one could see me. Hidden there in her long wavy arms my imagination was allowed to be still or run wild. The tree did not care which I chose.

Bob and I have been fascinated for decades how the tendrils and buds on the willow turn yellow before other things are giving a hint of spring to come. Now I am in room 303 and out our windows are 3 willow trees planted by this water.

From my journal: “Wood ducks and Canada geese vie for position on the water. Those ducks glide past as if propelled by some force other than themselves. Lord, help me relax and let You propel me today. Help me not to talk too much. Hush me from giving suggestions. Let me just look, watch, ask You for ways to follow You more closely. Increase my trust in You I pray.”

And yes, those trees sent out lots and lots of roots! Look at the opening photo (top of page). Not always easy to see the path of tree roots, but these are easily delineated in the strange winter grass that almost looks like moss.

We arrived in rain. Enjoyed a day of sun and our last morning there was SNOW! I did not venture out to get a shot of snow on the willow buds.

My photo above taken indoors and the chandelier light is reflected on the window (oops!). What a difference in weather!

You can see those willow tendrils in these photos. “Their leaves shall never wither. Never having fear or anxiety.” Yes, Lord! I want to be like these trees. Help me to trust You and drink daily from Your Living Water. Help me to delight in You and meditate on Your word day and night. Make me deeply rooted and grounded, established in Your love. (Ephesians 3:17)

You Lord are my hope and my salvation. Help me become a tree to Your glory, a living testament to Your power at work in 2022. Help me delight in doing everything You want me to do.

Inspired by Visit to Teampall Bhreasain, County Galway, Ireland

©2011 Molly Lin Dutina

Through the window of the ages
Past the thick walls of time
Stands a symbol of death
Nay! Bright resurrection
Hope of all men

The rough stones placed
In geometrically sound patterns
Of worship, of honor, of praise
Roofless now 
that heaven may freely break through 
to us of long ages later
Arches , capstones, edges of time
Torn by the worship of long ago
Until our hearts are lifted up
To worship the same lovely truth

You came for us
You come to us still
To have us for Your own
Encircling with Spirit
Invading with Holy
Illumine our techno age
With truth of heaven
Power of Holy
Spirit of Life

All That Glitters

-is not gold. Some things are more precious than gold. Some do not last but an hour or two!

r m dutina 22-2-5

The winter storm we had brought over 2 inches of sleet at our house, sheet of ice beneath and topped by a couple inches of snow. The weatherman said in 25 years of forecasting he had never seen anything like that sleet accumulation. It will take many days for us to thaw out. Especially since we no longer live on the sunny side of the street!

That is sleet piled up , not snow. And Claudia’s cheerful sunflowers! Can’t see the flower bed edges for the sleet.

Bob insisted after the last storm that I buy Lucky some boots. Previously she would get salt in her paws and be in pain during his long walks with her. This morning she made it about 3 steps out the door before losing the boots. Walked like a weird untrained soldier in them, trying to get them off. Today, no troubles with salt. Go figure. Returning those things to the pet store. I failed to grab the camera after putting her boots on. 😦 Lovely yellow silicone items with velcro straps.

Even the tree trunks were glazed with ice. Very strange and hoping for NO MORE of that type of storm. I do not mind snow. I HATE ICE.

Shine on the trunk is ice reflecting the sun

One thing fascinated me. From morning to night the sleet ticked on every window, sort of like fingernails tapping the glass. The front office windows gave us new art-form. Not even certain what to call it. At first glance it looked like coral to me. Remember riding in the car as a child and watching raindrops go down the windowpane? Choosing one and racing against a sibling?

Here is how it was made. If you turn up your volume you can hear the ice ticking on the house.

Keep trying to put that sleet sound into words. Maybe Suzette can write something for us!?! She is my haiku Queen.

He spreads the snow like wool

    and scatters the frost like ashes.

He hurls down his hail like pebbles.

    Who can withstand his icy blast?

He sends his word and melts them;

    he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.

Psalm 147:16-18 NIV

Amazing Stairwell Singing and The Chosen

Four voices on NPR and I am hooked. These guys are amazing! This is one of the hardest Christmas songs I have ever learned to sing. And one of the singers commented on NPR that it was difficult for him to learn, also. And then he was amazed at how it all worked with four of them taking turns with the lead. Even if you are tired of Christmas music I encourage you to listen to this acapella quartet.

My friend, Dan, blogged featuring the music from The Chosen Christmas Special. If you missed it you can watch it anytime on You Tube. This series has encouraged and gladdened us for the past two years. They are about to begin year three. Bob and I both highly recommend it!

Holy

Are you in a stance of worship? Bowing down? Lifting your hands towards heaven? Looking up towards beings more intelligent than us that worship God and proclaim His wonders on the earth?

bowing down
Lifting your hands
Looking up towards beings more intelligent than us

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

Some say the Bible is full of things you should not do. No worries about those things if you focus on things you are instructed to do!

Rejoice. Rejoice again. Be gentle. No anxiety – or if it comes send it away as quickly as you are aware of it. Soak every situation in prayer and petition. Always use thanksgiving liberally. All requests are to go right to God. God will give back a transcendent peace, beyond your understanding. He will help guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Bow down before Him. Look up. Listen for the voice of the Lord be it through angels, prophets, brothers and sisters in Christ, the Word of God, printed material a statement on radio, TV, blog, podcast, etc.

As I get older and my body is not nearly as flexible as it used to be I love the line from this prayer that says, “Now I bend the knee of my heart.” Yes, sometimes I think the prayer of Manasseh says it best:

O Lord Almighty,
God of our ancestors,
of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob
and of their righteous offspring;
you who made heaven and earth
with all their order;
who shackled the sea by your word of command,
who confined the deep
and sealed it with your terrible and glorious name;
at whom all things shudder,
and tremble before your power,
for your glorious splendor cannot be borne,
and the wrath of your threat to sinners is unendurable;
yet immeasurable and unsearchable
is your promised mercy,
for you are the Lord Most High,
of great compassion, long-suffering, and very merciful,
and you relent at human suffering.

O Lord, according to your great goodness
you have promised repentance and forgiveness
to those who have sinned against you,
and in the multitude of your mercies
you have appointed repentance for sinners,
so that they may be saved.[a]
Therefore you, O Lord, God of the righteous,
have not appointed repentance for the righteous,
for Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, who did not sin against you,
but you have appointed repentance for me, who am a sinner.

Confession of Sins

For the sins I have committed are more in number than the sand of the sea;
my transgressions are multiplied, O Lord, they are multiplied!
I am not worthy to look up and see the height of heaven
because of the multitude of my iniquities.
10 I am weighted down with many an iron fetter,
so that I am rejected because of my sins,
and I have no relief;
for I have provoked your wrath
and have done what is evil in your sight,
setting up abominations and multiplying offenses.

Supplication for Pardon

11 And now I bend the knee of my heart,
imploring you for your kindness.

12 I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned,
and I acknowledge my transgressions.
13 I earnestly implore you,
forgive me, O Lord, forgive me!
Do not destroy me with my transgressions!
Do not be angry with me forever or store up evil for me;
do not condemn me to the depths of the earth.
For you, O Lord, are the God of those who repent,
14 and in me you will manifest your goodness;
for, unworthy as I am, you will save me according to your great mercy,
15 and I will praise you continually all the days of my life.
For all the host of heaven sings your praise,
and yours is the glory forever. Amen.

Such a mighty and gracious God we serve! Verse 15 For I will praise You continually all the days of my life. Yes, Father help us to do just that.

Our King Eternal

And the seventh angel sounded; and there followed great voices in heaven, and they said, The kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ: and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Revelation 11:15 NASV

He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.

Luke 1:33 NASV

He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 1:6 NASV

Even now I am praying that you will know His presence and power in your very own life. May this Christmas season bring you a celebration of His indwelling Holy Spirit.

May you know Him as your Prince of Peace.
May you know Him as your King of kings.
May you know Him as your Lord of lords.

May 2021 be the year you finally understand why we celebrate the coming of our Lord and King. All the blessings of God be upon you. Let Him use you as a priest and King upon the earth, telling forth His glory and power on our behalf! May you know Him.

Donkey Me

First there was page a day from Oswald Chambers. “How often I find it is the stubborn donkey in me rather than my intelligence that turns aside and sees the angel of the Lord (Numbers 22:23). Lord, increase my spiritual sensitiveness that I may detect your slightest goings and drawings.”

Then my computer scrolling through photos brings me this from our trip to Ireland. I see myself in those lovely eyes.

And I arrive again at the story I wrote about the donkey.

Donkey Trail © 90-6-25 Molly Lin Dutina 

While traveling on the road of God’s will I hit a dip in the road and got jostled off the path. The dip occurred where the Lord asked me to do something, but fearing His will I inwardly said, “No!” I locked my knees, dug in my heels and soon resembled a stubborn donkey that must be pushed, pulled and cajoled to be made to move. Blind to my disobedient nature and still pouting before the holy ways of the Lord I decided if He really loved me we could compromise on another way. I stepped onto the “Treadmill of Debate” a perpetual motion conveyor belt going nowhere but in circles. Fearful and resistant to God’s will I asked “Why?” and presented Him with all of the ‘What-ifs’ and ‘If-onlys.’ I formulated brilliant reasonings for resisting His ways, deluding myself and dropping further and further away from His Light.’

God was more kind to me than Balaam who beat his donkey. (Numbers 22:22-33) God used that same donkey to save Balaam’s life three times. He even made the donkey talk to Balaam! If God can use a donkey, I am no one special. 

Until I accepted His will, relinquished my ideas and gave all things over to Him I could not continue the adventure of serving God well. As usual, when I actually arrived at the point of resistance it turned out to be so unlike what I had imagined might occur, that later I wondered why I was so silly and donkey-like not to yield immediately in trust to Him.  My efforts to control led onto a futile treadmill going NO where. God’s mercy urges me to let Him direct my course and enjoy His fellowship in the Now Here.

Help me to trust You more Lord. I want to live present to You in the Here and now for in this experience alone is my salvation. As I begin to err, thank-you for taking me off the highway and into Your discipline. You truly are “able to keep me from falling and to present me without blemish before the Presence of Your glory with rejoicing!” (Jude 24)

There are many myths about the birth of Jesus. The internet is glad to tell you about all of them.

No one knows for certain if Mary rode a donkey to Bethlehem. It is estimated that they traveled 80 miles. She was well along in her pregnancy. Imagine for one moment that she did ride a donkey. What if that donkey had dug in its heals and refused to go to Bethlehem? Are we more cooperative than a donkey or stubbornly insisting on our own way? How about attitudes towards how to celebrate Christmas, and where, and when, and with whom?

“Draw us God to Your side and show us how to help the world see Your gift of life through Jesus Christ. Soften our hearts to let You lead us in paths of righteousness. Amen.”

How to Top the Tree?

Decision made! Honoring our Lord and Savior, King and Brother this year.

Newest ornament, wooden spool with angels on it from Kathy. Oldest ornament, blue egg carton bell, painted by Bob in kindergarten.

For unto us a Child is born,

Unto us a Son is given;

And the government will be upon His shoulder.

And His name will be called

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 NIV

They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”

Revelation 17:4

Advent word of the week is Hope. Here is a book idea from Intervarsity Press for your kiddos who like or collect poetry!

The “O” in Hope a new book

By Luci Shaw,
Illustrated by Ned Bustard

What do an orangutan, an ostrich, an orange, and the ocean all have in common?
They all begin with the letter O!
But other words also have an O―words like mouth or moon or wow,
and even the word hope.

“Combining a joyful poem from the much-celebrated poet Luci Shaw with playful cut-paper art created by Ned Bustard, The O in Hope helps us experience the goodness of God’s gifts of hope and love.

“This delightful book can be enjoyed by children and the adults who read with them. Also included is a note from the author to encourage further conversation about the content.

“Discover IVP Kids and share with children the things that matter to God!”

The “O” in Hope by Lucy Shaw

Hope has this lovely vowel at its throat.
Think how we cry “Oh!” as the sun’s circle
clears the ridge above us on the hill.
O is the shape of a mouth singing, and of
a cherry as it lends its sweetness
to the tongue. “Oh!” say the open eyes at
unexpected beauty and then, “Wow!”
O is endless as a wedding ring, a round
pool, the shape of a drop’s widening on
the water’s surface. O is the center of love,
and O was in the invention of the wheel.
It multiplies in the zoo, doubles in a door
that opens, grows in the heart of a green wood,
in the moon, and in the endless looping
circuit of the planets. Mood carries it,
and books and holy fools, cotton, a useful tool
and knitting wool. I love the doubled O
in good and cosmos, and how O revolves,
solves, is in itself complete, unbroken,
a circle enclosing us, holding us all together,
every thing both in center and circumference
zeroing in on the Omega that finds
its ultimate center in the name of God.

My prayer is that you honor the Omega in all your 2021 celebrations!