Religion and Spirituality


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Liverpool Waterfront at Sunrise – Dave Wood, Liverpool Pictorial

God, my heart is ·steady [steadfast; ready].
I will sing and ·praise [play a psalm for] you ·with all my being [L as will my soul/or glory].
Wake up, harp and lyre!
I will wake up the dawn.
Lord, I will ·praise [thank] you among the ·nations [peoples];
I will sing ·songs of praise [psalms] about you to all the nations.
Your great ·love [loyalty] ·reaches to [is greater than] the ·skies [heavens],
your ·truth [faithfulness] to the heavens.
God, you are ·supreme [exalted] above the ·skies [heavens].
Let your glory [C manifest presence] be over all the earth [57:5–11]. Psalm 108 EXB

Awake ! One of the stanzas of A Morning Prayer by Thomas Ken stands out to me today.

Lord, I my vows to thee renew; disperse my sins as morning dew; guard my first springs of thought and will, and with thyself my spirit fill.


[L But] We have this treasure ·from God, but we are like clay jars that hold the treasure [L in clay jars]. This shows that the ·great [extraordinary; transcendent] power is from God, not from us. We have ·troubles all around us [or all kinds of troubles/trials], but we are not ·defeated [crushed]. We ·do not know what to do [are perplexed/bewildered], but we do not ·give up the hope of living[despair]. 2 Corinthians 4 EXB

We cry out to be filled. And so much can fill us, but today? Today, let us choose to be filled with His Spirit.

Let us give thanks.

I will praise (thank) You!

Hang on to your hearts. I realized that my last two blog posts didn’t have my thankfuls..

249. A son captured by a book

250. A son worshipping upstairs

251. A daughter and son sleeping peacefully

252. My mom finishing my laundry

253. My dad being here, listening

254. Community in the church

255. Solutions

256. Good talks with family

257. Playing games last night

Fill, Lord, Fill us with You.

Pray on. Pray on.



Mud pits

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Passion week has kinda crept up on me. If I still my soul, if I stay calm, I know that there is so much more to this life than I am allowing. This idea that I love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength leaves little room for fear, doubt and worry in me. I sit here wondering what if, what if it is that simple and I have made it so much more. I cling to worry about my husband’s job, our car falling apart, our children, how people view me and all of a sudden I’ve crowded out every image of the Lord in my life. I am just rolling through each emotion.

James 1 puts it in a new light for me:

12 ·When people are tempted and still continue strong, they should be happy [L Blessed is the one who perseveres endures trials/temptations]. After they have ·proved their faith[stood/endured/passed the test], ·God will reward them with life forever [Lthey will receive the crown of life; C alludes to the laurel crown given for a victory]. ·God [L He] promised this to all those who love him. 13 When people are ·tempted [undergoing a trial], they should not say, “God is tempting me.”[L For] God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But ·people are[L each person is] tempted when their own evil desire ·leads [lures; drags] them away and ·traps[entices; lures] them. 15 ·This desire leads to sin [L Then, after desire is conceived, it gives birth to sin], and then the sin ·grows [or becomes full-grown] and ·brings [gives birth to] death.

Today is an open slate, my friends. Today is the day He has made and He asks us to come and rejoice in it. Be glad. I can be paralyzed or I can extend my hand to joy. We are promised nothing about material success, however if we remain strong during the storms and trials, we can be happy, be blessed. Am I reading that right?

I get so focused on now. Or the future. Ugh! One day I’m going to stand before my Savior and see how all the pieces of my life fit together. Do we understand that these emotions of fear, worry and doubt are sin? I keep getting this image in my mind of me playing in a pit of mud (my worries, my fears and my doubts) and the Lord is extending His clean, beautiful hand to me saying, “Come out, come here, come clean” and I keep splashing in the mud because I can’t let go of fear. And I can’t, you can’t. We cannot do this on our own.

I waited patiently for the Lord.
He ·turned [bent down; inclined; stooped] to me and heard my cry.
He ·lifted [drew] me out of the pit of ·destruction [or desolation],
out of the ·sticky mud [miry/muddy pit/bog/swamp].
He ·stood me [L placed my feet] on a rock
and made my ·feet [L step] steady.
He put a new song [C celebrating victory; 33:396:198:1144:9149:1Is. 42:10Rev. 5:9;14:3] in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God. Psalm 40 EXB

Get out of that pit, Cara! Allow Him to lift us out of the pit. Allow Him to put our feet on a rock. Give Him a chance to make our feet steady. (Not in our circumstances, or status, or anything else but Him) I’ve heard it said that God is a gentleman. He will not push Himself in. I like that. God wants to put new songs in my mouth, your mouth. Sing for joy. He puts new songs in my mouth. Your mouth. Celebrate the victories! Ever notice how this Psalm has the writer waiting patiently? Friends, He is here now. He is just waiting to be asked in. He hears our cries. He responds and now we respond back. Do we just cycle through the worries in our prayers or have our prayers become an opportunity to praise Him?

Sing a new song [C celebrating victory; 40:396:198:1144:9149:1Is. 42:10Rev. 5:9;14:3] to him;
play well ·and joyfully [with a loud/a victory shout].
God’s word is ·true [upright; virtuous],
and everything he does is ·right [faithful].
He loves what is right and ·fair [just];
the Lord’s ·love [loyalty; covenant love] fills the earth. Psalm 33 EXB

Friends, in the midst of our trials, songs of truth and praise can fill our mouths. Rather than sadness and worry lines filling our faces, allow His truths to smooth the lines. So as I begin my day, I ask the Holy Spirit to fill me. I ask that His word come alive in me, my words to my children, to my husband. Jesus has the victory! He has won over sin and death and here we are wringing our hands with our circumstances. Mercy, I have a chance to bring Him glory today! I have a chance to stand on the rock and invite those around me to be lifted up. Join in singing the anthem of the Lord’s renown!

The earth is filled with His glory. Filled. Seriously!

So, as it is Holy Week starting tomorrow, I want to focus my blog on Him. Not my circumstances, but His glory, His revelation in the power of Jesus Christ. So, want to join me? Pray with me.

Awake, my soul, and with the sun
Thy daily stage of duty run;
Shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise,
To pay thy morning sacrifice.

Thy precious time misspent, redeem,
Each present day thy last esteem,
Improve thy talent with due care;
For the great day thyself prepare.

By influence of the Light divine
Let thy own light to others shine.
Reflect all Heaven’s propitious ways
In ardent love, and cheerful praise.

In conversation be sincere;
Keep conscience as the noontide clear;
Think how all seeing God thy ways
And all thy secret thoughts surveys.

Wake, and lift up thyself, my heart,
And with the angels bear thy part,
Who all night long unwearied sing
High praise to the eternal King.

All praise to Thee, who safe has kept
And hast refreshed me while I slept
Grant, Lord, when I from death shall wake
I may of endless light partake.

Heav’n is, dear Lord, where’er Thou art,
O never then from me depart;
For to my soul ’tis hell to be
But for one moment void of Thee.

Lord, I my vows to Thee renew;
Disperse my sins as morning dew.
Guard my first springs of thought and will,
And with Thyself my spirit fill.

Direct, control, suggest, this day,
All I design, or do, or say,
That all my powers, with all their might,
In Thy sole glory may unite.

I would not wake nor rise again
And Heaven itself I would disdain,
Wert Thou not there to be enjoyed,
And I in hymns to be employed.

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Let’s do this day, friends, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Pray on.  Oh wait! My thankfuls!

233. God’s wisdom revealed in the Scriptures speaking life this morning.

234. Thankful for a day with my kids, as I pray for these precious kids with cancer that kills the body, I pray for these families. Moms and Dads who cling to the now with their precious babes.

235. Thankful for a dog who just makes me smile.

Pray on! Pray on!



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Šmarjetna gora, view towards Škofja Loka, Slovenia. Photo by Mihael Grmek

Good morning, beloved,

I took a walk the other day, alone. Nothing too spectacular about this, other than as I was praying out loud, I was led to sing. So I began to sing, at first, self consciously. Then I began to sing from my soul, instead of my brain. As we (Starburst and I) turned the corner, I heard some birds singing along with me. I stopped to listen to them. And they stopped. So I began and so did these little treasures. I stopped. They stopped. And I was reminded, all the earth will sing Your praises. Some of the earth decided to join my worship.

I need to keep singing. I desire my mind to settle on Him, to bring my harried soul to rest upon Him. Can we do it? Rather than allow my prayers to be about me, worshiping first. Worshiping last.

So I begin today with thanks and praise. I have to, I have to put my mind on Him.

He put a new song [C celebrating victory; 33:396:198:1144:9149:1Is. 42:10Rev. 5:9;14:3] in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many people will see this and ·worship [fear] him.
Then they will ·trust [find refuge in] the Lord.

·Happy [Blessed] is the person
who ·trusts [finds refuge in] the Lord,
who doesn’t turn to those who are proud
or to those who ·worship [go astray to] ·false gods [L a lie].
Lord my God, you have done many ·miracles [wonders; great acts].
Your plans for us are many.
If I tried to tell them all,
there would be too many to count [104:24139:17–18John 21:25]. Psalm 40 EXB

Trust. Refuge. Worship.

Full rainbow taken in Clacton-On-Sea in Essex UK Photo by Danesman1

I see this rainbow and see God’s grace over our land. Undeserved, yet given.

My thankfuls today:

217. Thankful for God’s grace as my symptoms are returning.

218. Thankful for beautiful sunrises.

219. Thankful for groceries being delivered.

Pray for your Pastor and his wife…today I”m praying for strength in the day today, for His Spirit to fill these two precious people, for God’s blessing upon this family.

Pray on. Pray on. And worship. Worship Him!





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Dawn at Swifts Creek. Photo by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos

Good morning, beloved,

How do you understand a peaceful, quiet, restful day when the day earlier was the antithesis? Grateful. I begin thinking what did I do differently? Questioning. Not sure, wondering. So I begin with…

Awake, my soul, and with the sun
thy daily stage of duty run;
shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise
to pay thy morning sacrifice.

Lord, I my vows to thee renew;
disperse my sins as morning dew;
guard my first springs of thought and will,
and with thyself my spirit fill.

Five Vows for Spiritual Power by A.W. Tozer ( Powerful..please take some time)

Direct, control, suggest, this day,
all I design or do or say;
that all my powers, with all their might,
in thy sole glory may unite.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
praise him, all creatures here below;
praise him above, ye heavenly host:
praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

To praise: 2 express one’s respect and gratitude towards (a deity), especially in song:we praise God for past blessings (Oxford Dictionary)

My thankfuls today (what are yours?)

211. For my parents coming and helping us.

212. For dear friends’ blessings.

213. For loaves (notice plural) of bread in the freezer.

For our Pastors and their wives:

Ask God to protect your pastor from the evil plots of Satan. Pray that he will not be corrupted as he rubs shoulders with the world in the course of ministry. (John 17:15; Is. 54:17; 2 Cor. 2:11; 1 Pet. 3:12; Ps. 9:9-10, 91:9-11) (Revive Our Hearts)

Pray on. Pray on.


He will not delay

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Beit Yanai beach – rain, wind and waves Photo by Sigal Ben Amram

Good morning, beloved,

Rain on the windows, coffee in hand, a fire in our fireplace, piano music in the background, quiet. We have heat, friends. Yes, a nice fire, but our heat is fully functional. I am thankful.  I wrote on my Facebook page, we have heat, WOOHOO! or some such nonsense, and I realized how NOT having something has truly shifted my focus. To be grateful, to be thankful, to see with new eyes what I take for granted in my life. How quickly life passes me by, I stare, this morning, at our chairs we have begun using for school and I know who sits in each chair. I see them. Each day I have is a gift. A day with pain gives me perspective to say, to savor, to enjoy a day without.

I played out in the snow with two of my kids, talking with them, planning, dreaming how big our snow fort would become. I would stop and just stare at them. Talk with them. Do you

Rhoen Schneetreiben Source: M. Klüber Fotografie

ever just stop and talk with children? Sit next to them. Not to hurry to the next activity, but to savor, to enjoy a moment with children. They have the most amazing things to say. The words. Their imaginations.

I just have to stop myself. Stop the hurrying. Listen.

When I get all frantic, rushing them, pushing them, the focus of our house becomes me. I lose the chance to help my children, weaving in and out, encouraging, prompting with kindness and agape. Instead I become a clanging bell, a sounding brass. I take center stage.  In my last post I discovered these NOT words in verse 4 keep self at the center. Now for verse 5 of 1 Corinthians 13:

Love is not ·rude [disrespectful], is not ·selfish [self-serving], and ·does not get upset with others [is not easily provoked/angered]. Love does not ·count up [keep a record of] wrongs that have been done.

The root word of this word rude/disrespectful is to be deformed, indecent, unseemly.

29 ·God knew them before he made the world [L For those whom he foreknew…], ·and he chose them […he also predestined/chose beforehand] to be ·like [molded to the pattern of; conformed to the image of] his Son so that Jesus would be the firstborn [C the preeminent one, but also indicating others will follow] of many brothers and sisters [C Jesus’ resurrection confirms that his followers will also share in God’s glory]. Romans 8 EXB

So either we can be deformed by fleshly behaviors, or we can be conformed, transformed into the image of His Son, right?

Not selfish. Not self crave, demand something from someone (zēteō). 

·If so […then], ·make me very happy [L fulfill/complete my joy] by ·having the same thoughts [being like-minded/of one mind], sharing the same love, and having one ·mind [heart; soul] and ·purpose [goal; mind]. When you do things, do not let ·selfishness [rivalry; selfish ambition] or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and

View of the Sierra, fresh powder Photo by Introvert

give more ·honor [regard; value] to others than to yourselves. Do not ·be interested only in your own life [look out for your own interests], but ·be interested in the lives of others [look out for others’ interests]. Philippians 2 EXB

Does not get upset with others, not easily angered..the greek:( paroxynō) to make sharp, sharpen, to irritate, provoke, arouse to anger.

19 My ·dear [L beloved] brothers and sisters [C fellow believers], [L under-stand/know this:] ·always be willing to listen and slow to speak. Do not become angry easily [L be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; Prov. 17:28], 20 ·because anger will not help you live the right kind of life God wants [L because human anger does not produce God’s righteousness]. James 1 EXB

Does not count up, keep a record of wrongs…

two Greek words (logizomai): to reckon, count, compute, calculate, count over AND (kakosof what is morally or ethically “evil,” whether of persons, or qualities, emotions, passions, deeds

Do you notice that these words, these descriptions mar the person? Change us. Disfigure.

These last few days I have gotten up to finish writing this blog and it just hasn’t been done. I can’t get past this idea of disfigurement by sin and record keeping, and not getting upset, not being controlled by emotions. When I am in pain, (emotional or physical), my filters, my control goes on the blink. Hear that? I. I. I wonder if all the crazy things happening in my house, my children’s lives, my life, Joshua’s bring me exactly where He wants me. Out of control. Letting go.

Release. There’s chaos here, yet He is up to something. He is not letting His child go. He is asking His child to let go.

36 One of the Pharisees ·asked [invited] Jesus to eat with him, so Jesus went into the Pharisee’s house and ·sat at the table[L reclined; C at a formal meal guests would recline at a low table with their feet stretched out behind them]. 37 [L And look/T behold] A ·sinful [immoral] woman in the town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house. So she brought an alabaster ·jar [vial; flask] of perfume 38 and stood behind Jesus at his feet, ·crying [weeping]. She began to ·wash [wet; drench] his feet with her tears, and she ·dried [wiped] them with her hair, kissing them many times and ·rubbing [anointing]them with the perfume. 39 When the Pharisee who asked Jesus to come to his house saw this, he thought to himself, “If ·Jesus [L this person] were a prophet, he would know ·that the woman touching him is a sinner [L who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner]!” Luke 7 EXB

I see myself in both of these people in this scene. Pharisee judging. Assessing a situation, seeing himself as better. My brain can be such a train wreck. Yet, here is something I am realizing HUGE. The Pharisee ate a meal with Jesus but this meal did not bring the answers he wanted. He wanted Jesus to measure this woman by his standards. Here was this Rabbi allowing this woman to touch Him! Yuck!  After the Pharisee walked away from the table, He walked away from Life. The Living Water. Living. Jesus didn’t give him the answers he desired.

However, the woman walked away from the table with her sins forgiven. Healed. HEALED. I want to be at the table with Jesus and walk with Him in peace. I don’t want to walk away from Life, believing Satan’s lies, whispers.

These last few days have been more like the woman for me. Weeping at the feet of Jesus…realizing the weight of my attitudes, my frustration..Lord, I want to walk away from this table with You this morning healed. Restored. I confess. I hurt. I ask for healing, from the inside out. If you don’t heal my body, don’t. Heal me heart.

Remind me with Your holiness, Your grace. Remind me in the songs we sing this day. Remind me in the candle. Remind me in the eyes of my sweet children. Thank You for Your tenderness towards this woman. Me. And towards those who read this, may they meet You this morning at their table. Lord, may You open the floodgates of Your love. Breath on each one of these precious souls. Give them the breath of LIFE! As my day begins, I begin, we begin with You.

48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 The people ·sitting at the table [L reclining together; 7:36] began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

50 Jesus said to the woman, “·Because you believed, you are saved from your sins [L Your faith has saved you]. Go in peace.” Luke 7 EXB

Go in peace, friends. You are saved from your sins this day. Believe on Him…forgiveness…

My thankfuls:

Ann Voskamp, Joy Dare

3 Surprise Gifts, Unexpected Grace:

169. The gift, the reminder of His forgiveness by just looking out my window at the bliss of clean, white snow on my rooftops. The rest of my snow is trampled by little feet.

170. The gift of time this morning to finish this blog, to be healed.

171. The gift of my house warm.

Pray on, friends. Pray on.


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Pig’s Ear (Cotyledon orbiculata) by JJ Harrison

Good morning, beloved,

We let the kids stay up late last night. Shockingly, some are still sleeping so I am hiding out in my room watching the sky lighten and planning my week. Listening to worship music and allowing my mind to drift. I keep coming back to this Psalm. God, Creator of the universe, forming me, molding me, knowing me intricately and loving me. How often to we pause to just thank God for our life? How often do we look in the mirror and realize just how beautifully God made us?

I have the divine pleasure of looking out my window now and seeing a beautiful male cardinal. He is a stark contrast to the browns, grays of the barren trees.


13 You ·made [created] my ·whole being [inward parts];
you ·formed [knitted] me in my mother’s ·body [belly; womb].
14 I ·praise [thank] you because you made me in an ·amazing [awesome] and wonderful way.
What you have done is wonderful.
I know this very well.
15 ·You saw my bones being formed [L My bones were not hidden from you]
as I ·took shape [was made] in ·my mother’s body [L secret].
When I was ·put together [L woven] ·there [L in the depths of the earth],
16     ·you [L your eyes] saw my ·body as it was formed [L embyro].
All the days ·planned [L formed] for me
were written in your book
·before I was one day old [not one of them existed]. Psalm 139 EXB

Stop. Pause. Breathe. You have a marvelous Creator God who knows you. Loves you. Nothing remains hidden from Him, and He still remain faithful and loves you.

Good grief, now I have two male cardinals outside in my trees. So beautiful! Now the female is close by. How can I marvel at His creation outside my window and not marvel at the creation that is me?

Friends, the battle of the mind is so fierce. I am so very convinced of this. Our thought life can transform us either way. We can be transformed by the renewing of our mind with Scripture or transformed by negative thoughts of criticism for self and others, fear, doubt and worry.

Today, my family will wrap up (I hope) our memorization of Psalm 15 and will continue to 1 Corinthians 13. I say that not for a pat on the back but because I am convinced of the power of His WORD in my family’s mind and especially mine. What Scripture is going to be the sword you will use when the evil one whispers today?

My Thankfuls:

A Gift in Sky, Water, Memory Ann Voskamp Joy Dare

127. My thankful in sky are the beautiful birds that have joined me for my quiet time this morning.

128. I’m thankful to have stepped out on the ice last night and watched my girl ice skate for the very first time.

129. I’m thankful for my memories of my friend, Jo.

Pray on. Pray on.


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Five burrowing Owls by travelwayoflife

God has put these verses on my heart..He has used them mightily in times past, He brings it up again. I do not think it an accident that Habakkuk heard…many of you have been asking for a better understanding of what is going on. God, in His great mercy, gave me these two YouTube videos. Time and time again, He shows me, His eye is on the sparrow.  Allow me to share these two videos. If you listen carefully, you will hear the name of my surgeon. How amazing is that? We have the same surgeon.

I had my family listen to this, I want them to understand. This next video is after the surgery. You can find it on her little youtube site. 🙂

Do I think that Habakkuk meant my disorder? No way. He was given prophecy from the Lord and he was awaiting the judgement on Israel, his people. They would not listen, they turned their backs on the Lord. He alone had to endure the waiting.

Now, that’s the amazing part of my story. I am not alone. Jesus took my judgement, my sins upon His shoulders and all people as well. He became sin who knew no sin that we might become the righteousness of God. I have Jesus interceding on my behalf on the right hand side of God in heaven..always. You as well, nothing special about me…it is all to the glory of Him.

He has dear friends call to check up on me. He has my dear husband by my side. He has my Mom coming today to help. Friends, if we only look at the sadness, then we will never see how much we can exult in God. Remembering to keep our eyes on Him. So how can I do this? I am memorizing these verses.


Habakkuk 3

16 I heard and my [whole inner self] trembled; my lips quivered at the sound. Rottenness enters into my bones and under me [down to my feet]; I tremble. I will wait quietly for the day of trouble and distress when there shall come up against [my] people him who is about to invade and oppress them.

17 Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, [though] the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls,

18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation!

19 The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!

Habakkuk rejoiced! He remembered His God. Our God! So times are tough, people are telling you how hard your life is..and your chin goes up just a little. And you think, you know what my life is hard. Yes, this one understands! This is not fair. Why is God allowing this? What have I done? Friends, I am hear to tell you whether you are the one listening to this or giving it as advice…stop. Listen to Habakkuk! Pray, rejoice in the Lord, your personal bravery! What friends on the battle line need to know is you are praying. Interceding on their behalf, He alone can carry their burden, your burden. Run to the Lord,  He will make your feet like deer’s feet.

You are “at your best advice” when you are guiding them to the Lord. Not to focus on how hard their trial is, but how great our God always is. It is subtle, because you, as a friend, want to sympathize and say the right thing. Yet, the perfect thing when someone shares their trial? Pray. Pull the person aside and pray..God is the best sympathizer.

Pray on. Pray on.