Need freedom?

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Reserve Haphalskyy Photo by Balkhovitin

Good morning, beloved of God,

This morning as my computer warmed up, my third was lamenting about his many mosquito bites. He was pointing to every place the mosquitos attacked. He was so tired. He was frustrated. And then a friend called, and my son transformed. He sat up. He began talking excitedly about his newest craze. I watched this rapid transformation and I muse. Get used to husband has had to..;)

Do I think my son was lying? No. I think his misery was based on a singular focus. He still has those pesky, itchy bites, yet his mind switched and he is able to enjoy his conversation. (Tho, I just saw him enter the bathroom with my phone…not sure I’m…)

I don’t like dwelling on the uncomfortable stuff, such as the Holy Spirit zeroing in on my sin or pain.  I prefer to sit in the happy places. Yet, as much as I don’t like to think upon this, some of the storms in my life are of my own doing. My own failings. Just like my son’s mosquito bite, when I am attacked by the little buggers, I long to scratch. Notice how the momentary relief becomes a more persistent itch? Kind of like sin, isn’t it? We give in to the temptation (whatever it is) and all of a sudden, the itch has become our focus. In the back of my mind, I know I should stop itching,  I should not give in and yet I do. James says it so much better:

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 [L they 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. James 1 EXB

Now here is the tricky part. Walking through the sin committed with the Holy Spirit, seeing where the temptation snagged me and understanding the root. The place where Satan knows I fall most easily. He hasn’t changed his technique a lot in my life. It all began with ….you answer for yourself. I answer for myself. And then I remember Paul. Thank You, Lord for Paul and his letters.  It is a little stick with him.

14 [L For] We know that the law is spiritual, but I am ·not spiritual [fleshly; carnal] ·since sin rules me as if I were its slave [L sold to sin; C as a slave]. 15 [L For] I do not understand the things I do. [L For] I do not do what I want to do, and I do the things I hate. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, that means I agree that the law is good [C Paul’s acknowledgement that his behavior is wrong confirms the law’s righteous standards]. 17 But [L now] I am not really the one who is doing these hated things; it is sin living in me that does them. 18 ·Yes [L For…], I know that nothing good lives in me—I mean nothing good lives in ·the part of me that is earthly and sinful [my sinful self; my sinful nature; T my flesh]. [L For] I want to do the things that are good, but I ·do not [or cannot] do them. 19 [L For] I do not do the good things I want to do, but I do the ·bad [evil] things I do not want to do. 20 So if I do things I do not want to do, then I am not the one doing them. It is sin living in me that does those things.

21 So I ·have learned this rule [or find this principle/law at work]: When I want to do good, evil is ·there with me [present within me; close at hand]. 22 [L For] In ·my mind [my inmost self; L the person within], I ·am happy with [delight in] God’s law. 23 But I see ·another law [a different standard; oranother power] working in my ·body [or outward actions; L members; parts], which makes war against the ·law [standards] that my mind accepts. That other ·law [standard; or power] working in my ·body[or outward actions; L members; parts] is the law of sin, and it makes me its prisoner. 24 What a ·miserable [wretched] man I am! Who will ·save [free; rescue; deliver] me from this ·body that brings me death [body doomed to die; or burden of death]? 25 ·I thank God for saving me [L Thanks be to God!] through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Ukrainian Steppe Nature Reserve Stone Tombs Photo by Balkhovitin

So [L then] in my mind I am a slave to God’s law, but in my ·sinful self [sinful nature; T flesh] I am a slave to the ·law [principle; or power] of sin. Romans 7 EXB

Paul understands. Paul was there. You may be there. You may be continuing in a sin that the Holy Spirit is pushing you to change. You long to stop. To change. Yet, this is NOT something to be done in your own strength. My own strength, we are saved not on our own merit, but because Christ has saved us! Do you hear that?

So now, those who are in Christ Jesus are not ·judged guilty[a] [condemned; punished for their sins]. 2 [L For] ·Through [or In] Christ Jesus the ·law [principle; or power] of the Spirit that brings life set you[b] free from the ·law [principle; or power] that brings sin and death. Romans 8 EXB

The sun breaks through the clouds. Hope renewed. Lift up a shout! Run after Him!

So, today, the cross before me, my sins forgiven, I walk freely with Him. Satan whispers and I lift up my face, I turn my eyes to Jesus. I replay No Chains On Me! and declare my God saves. I am free. And you know what? So are you. You ask for the forgiveness Jesus so freely offers to you. You accept His very free, yet costly gift (not to you, but to Him).

And your heart can be free!

I gotta go..and dance with my girl.

Pray on! Pray on!


Worship. Worship. Worship!

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NGC 2467 and Surroundings by ESO

Good morning, beloved!

How’s that for a statement? Exclamation point! Ha! Take that stress! I wake up in the knowledge that I am loved by Creator God who makes such stunning displays of beauty. He reigns.

I remember when this song came out, my kids would belt this song out and one day I asked them what it meant that He reigns. O, Mom, you know, it means we are so thankful that it “rains”.  The song  takes on some interesting new connotations…

My kids all have certain ways that they like to go to bed. We have routines. They don’t like falling asleep without them. As they get older, the need for a certain routine seems to fade but the younger ones need the stability. Love you, see you in the morning, have a good night, it’s going to be a good night…repeated by each of them (well, except for my eldest). Each need, I believe, the assurance that they are loved.

When my world is caving in, I need reassurances that no matter how much rain falls, my God reigns. He makes it rain. He made this world.

The Lord ·is king [reigns; 47:296:1097:198:699:1Rev. 19:6]. He is ·clothed [robed] in majesty.
The Lord is ·clothed [robed] in majesty
and ·armed [girded] with strength.
The world is ·set [established],
and it ·cannot be moved [will not totter].
Lord, your ·kingdom [L throne] was ·set up [established] long ago;
you are everlasting. Psalm 93 EXB

Tears may flow from my eyes from life’s messes but I know, I know, I declare that my God is faithful! He is Lord Almighty!

My Pandora mix today are all these songs. I think maybe my Lord wants to me remember this all. SO I’m sharing these songs because they are such good reminders. Remember, beloved. Nothing compares to His embrace. Light of the World He forever rains. (Just kidding..)

·Worship [Bow down to] the Lord ·because he is holy [L in the splendor of his holiness].
Tremble before him, everyone on earth.
10 Tell the nations, “The Lord ·is king [reigns; 47:293:197:198:699:1Rev. 19:6].”
The earth is ·set [established], and it cannot be moved. Psalm 96 EXB

Worship Him. Tell the world that our Lord is King.

There was a whole lotta hoopla about History Channel’s The Bible debut of Satan this week. That the man’s makeup is designed to make him look like Obama. Whatever. For my brain, remembering that our God’s power is triumphant. Are Satan’s tactics hard to cope with? Yes. God lifts us higher. Lifts you higher than your circumstances.

So my thankfuls today:

230. A beautiful bathroom painted by my lovely Mother..

231. A neighbor who brought me yummy slippers and workout pants.

232. What’s In the Bible with Buck Denver..what a gift.

Praying for our Pastors and their wives:

Pray that your pastor and his wife will practice servant leadership, edifying the congregation with wisdom and serving with God’s “agape” love. (Gal. 5:13b; Eph. 6:7; Mark 10:43b-45, 9:23-24; John 13:5-9; Phil. 2:3-4) (ROH)

God bless you today..pray on. Pray on.


How great a debtor!

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In Nockamixon State Park, which is five miles east of Quakertown and nine miles west of Doylestown in PA. Photo by gailf548

Good morning, beloved,

Ever notice how when life is quiet, peaceful, everyone is healthy, money in the bank, how easy it is to come to rely on this? Slowly but surely we can remove our trust in God and put our trust in these very temporal circumstances. The picture of this tree is such good reminder to me. This tree is quite alive, healthy, roots firmly established by the water.  Can you imagine this tree picking up it’s roots and saying, “I don’t like the water. I’m good on my own.” ? Of course not.  This tree relies heavily on the water in good times. And in bad.  However, when the waters stir, when the downpours come, when health issues arrive that are not solved, when  money is NOT in the bank, we look up to heaven and begin to panic.

Or not. When downpour after downpour come on the Bruinius family, I have to be honest I get overwhelmed. I can type it all out, make a good story for our family but yet I am finding as I type it out, I begin to find reason to be upset with God.  Yet, within the span of a day, such good, such stress poured down on our family. As I watched the emails come, as I listened on the phone to another issue, I had to just keep saying…

My friends, you have so many choices in your day, choices for life, for joy.   I know I can resonate with Robert Robinson’s hymn..

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.  Robert Robinson

So, join me this day.

Make known your declarations to God.  Lift up your debtor’s heart. Don’t forget to keep worship. Refuse the whispers of Satan.

“But the person who ·trusts [has confidence] in the Lord will be blessed.
·The Lord will show him that he can be trusted [L …whose trust/confidence is in him].
He will be like a tree planted near water [C vital and strong]
that sends its roots by a stream [Ps. 1:3].
It is not afraid when the ·days are hot [L heat comes];
its leaves are always green.
It ·does not worry [is not anxious] in a year ·when no rain comes [of drought];
it always produces fruit. Jeremiah 17 EXB

Trust. The Lord HAS shown Himself so faithful. I want to be that tree at the top of my post.  Vibrant, strong, trusting in my God to provide for each and every need we have. He is so faithful.

Three gifts, salty, sweet and just right

(Ann Voskamp)

227. Tears of my children that with comfort and reminders of  joy a smile can be found..

228. My Ella girl finishing her AWANA proud.

229. Chocolate pudding that was all mine from start to finish. 🙂

Please continue to pray for Micah Ahern. His parents are sitting in a hospital holding their breath, wondering if the cancer truly has returned.

Prayers for our Pastors and their wives:

Day 21 Pray that your pastor and his wife will not give in to discouragement, but will deal with inevitable criticism and conflict by committing themselves  into the hands of God, who judges righteously. (1Pet. 2:23) (ROH)

Pray on. Pray on.



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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.


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The Second Severn Crossing carrying the M4 motorway across the River Severn between Severn Beach near Avonmouth in south west England and Caldicot in south Wales. This view, composed from 16 separate images, is looking west from the English side. The bridge has a total span of 5.1 km and includes a cable-stayed section called the Shoots Bridge which spans the shipping channel between the two towers. The River Severn has a vast tidal range – the point from which this photograph was taken would be covered at high tide. Photo by Yummifruitbat

Good morning, beloved,

Snow day! Beautiful, fluffy snow has covered our landscape. Yesterday was a fun day filled with school, playing outside, listening to our books and shockingly, I made bread. Ok, well, Joshua helped but it worked. I, of course, used a recipe. I am a recipe girl. I cannot seem to veer off the recipe more than just a smidge. We made it and it was good. Gluten free, dairy free bread smells filled our house.There is pleasure for me to have baking work for me.

I want that for my children. I want that we do this and this and this and they will pop out of the oven (well, ok, leave us to make their way in the world) as devoted followers of Christ. I read books, I listen to people farther along in the journey, I want reassurance. I realize what I’m doing. I’m living in our tomorrow when God has given us grace for this day. This moment. Today.

Lamentations 3:

22 The Lord’s ·love [loyalty] never ends;
his ·mercies [compassion] never stop.
23 They are new every morning;
Lord, your ·loyalty [faithfulness] is ·great [abundant; Ps. 33:492:2143:1].

24 I say to myself, “The Lord is ·mine [L my lot/portion],
so I hope in him.”

I cannot place my hope in a program. I cannot place my hope in a book I read and the formula there-within. Friend, where do we place our hope? The Lord.

Living in His love that never ends.

Daily LIfe Verse by

His mercies that never stop.

His love, His mercy is new every morning.

His faithfulness, His loyalty is great. Abundant.

So, lets say to ourselves, the Lord is mine. (He’s yours too.)

Place not your hope in your circumstances. Do not allow yourself to wander in the fields of hopelessness. Come back into His mercies. His faithfulness. His loyalty. His hope.

Hearing In Christ Alone…reminding myself, I live in Christ. This is truly living. Not allowing Satan to be the whisper in my mind, but rather His word, His life. Join me today? Step on the snake today. (Ann Voskamp)

My thankfuls (what are yours?)

205. Thankful for worship. Taking my mind off me. Placing it on worship of God Almighty.

206. Thankful for the convictions of the Holy Spirit. Humbled.

207. No matter what the news says, the earth is filled with His glory. Praise God!

Prayers for your Pastor:

Read This:

Pray on. Pray on.



Separate? No way

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Good morning, beloved,

Spruces in Twilight Photo by Axel Kristinsson

Where can you find peace in this day? As I write, I am praying for God to come and dwell. May His Holy Spirit fall fresh on this house. I love remembering these verses:

35 ·Can anything [or Who can] separate us from the love Christ has for us? Can ·troubles [trials; tribulations] or ·problems [distress; hardship] or ·sufferings [persecution] or ·hunger [famine] or ·nakedness [destitution] or danger or ·violent death [L sword]?36 As it is written in the Scriptures:

“For ·you [your sake] we are ·in danger of death [L being put to death] all the time.
·People think we are worth no more than [L We were considered like] sheep ·to be killed [about to be slaughtered;Ps. 44:22].”

37 But in all these things we are completely victorious through ·God [or Christ; L the One] who showed his love for us. 38 Yes, I am ·sure [convinced] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor ·ruling spirits [or heavenly rulers; or demons; L rulers;T principalities], nothing ·now [in the present], nothing in the future, no ·powers [or spiritual powers/authorities], 39 ·nothing above us [or no powers in the sky], ·nothing below us [or nor powers in the depths], nor ·anything else in the whole world[any created thing] will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8 EXB

Nothing can remove His love for us. Nothing. I know a great lies that Satan likes to tell us. Oh, God could never forgive that. Oh, that sin? No way. You haven’t had a quality time with the Lord? No, don’t even try to come back because it is all about your quiet time with the Lord looking like this, this much time, this time of day.  You are plagued by fear? Yes, God could never forgive, could never love someone like you.

As I type those lies, maybe they are the lies whispered to you. Your lies may sound a little different, but these are the lies that we listen to, we believe and we ingest. Why is it easier to believe the evil one’s lies then believe God’s truth, God’s Word?
Mindy McCready believed the lies of the evil one last night. Her life was plagued by problems, by pain, by sadness. The whispers of the enemy..are powerful. Yet, they are no match for God’s love. I can imagine those last moments…I can imagine what life will be like for her two sweet boys she leaves behind. Anger, depression..
Yet God’s word says we can be completely victorious. Have you faced this? You, I, are loved. Satan’s lies cannot separate us. You may try to build a wall to Jesus but He is there. He is waiting. He is also whispering…
neither death,
The German military cemetery in La Cambe, Normandy. Picture taken in the summer of 2003. The cemetery is the resting place for about 20000 German soldiers. Photo by Bjarki Sigursveinsson.




Nor life,
A two minutes old newborn-baby girl with her midwife in a delivery-room in Jerusalem. Photo by משתמש כבד



















Nothing now! Nothing in the future!  No powers! Nothing above! Nothing below!

Nor anything else in the whole wide world!

His love is..

17 I pray that Christ will ·live [make his home] in your hearts by faith and that your life will be ·strong in love and be built on love[L rooted and grounded in love]. 18 And I pray that you and all ·God’s holy people [T the saints] will have the power to ·understand [comprehend; grasp] the greatness of Christ’s love—how wide and how long and how high and how deep that love is. 19 Christ’s love is ·greater than anyone can ever know [beyond comprehension/knowledge], but I pray that you will be able to know that love. ·Then [L …so that] you can be filled with the fullness of God. Ephesians 3 EXB

How do we do this? How do we grasp? We live in the truth. We hear the whispers of the enemy and we say NO.

We give thanks..

Ann Voskamp, Joy Dare: 3 gifts on paper:

184. Art work by my kids

185. Old valentines found from precious family

186. My Bible that has nearly 10 years of writing…

We pray for others, we focus less on ourselves and more on the hurting world around. We lift up our pastor and his wife!

Pray that your pastor will be a man of prayer and worship, and that he will lead by example—teaching the congregation how to walk in a close relationship with the Father. (1 Thess. 5:17; Acts 1:14a; Matt. 4:10; Mark 1:35; Luke 22:46)

Ask God to provide for the financial needs of your pastor and his family. Pray that your
pastor’s wife will be a wise steward in caring for her family and using funds entrusted to
her care. Pray that her heart will be turned away from selfish gain and worthless things.
(Phil. 4:19; Heb. 13:5; 1 Tim. 6:11; Ps. 37:25; 119:36-37) Revive Our Hearts

We keep His word in our minds to do battle! Notecards. Songs that extol His Word.

Pray on. Pray on.








Love God?

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View from the observation tower, Brown County State Park, Indiana, USA by Poco a poco

Good morning, beloved,

I come to the garden…does it ever surprise you how amazingly sinful you can be? I’m not talking about murder, or some horrible sin. I’m talking about..and then about…and then about…you know, here’s the deal: we’ve done this before. We’ve looked at how Jesus viewed sin.(Sermon on the Mount) He saw no difference in the thought life and the actual deed of murder, adultery, etc.  We’ve looked at how God the Father sees sin. It’s bloody, it’s messy, He hates it. How many animals lost their little innocent lives because of the sin of Israel? How about the precious blood of Jesus? The last sacrifice, for all mankind, for all time…He was all we all needed.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin.
More lyrics:

Yet, we look at our sin and put up walls. He couldn’t forgive that. I’ve sinned too many times. And, guess what? We listened to the lies..

Look up! See the risen Son of God!

I forget sometimes how to love. I forget how to be Jesus with skin on to those around me. John has some words for me. Maybe for you?

1 John 4

19 We love because ·God [L he] first loved us. 20 If people say, “I love God,” but hate their brothers or sisters [C fellow believers], they are liars. [L For] Those who do not love their brothers and sisters[C fellow believers], whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have never seen. 21 And ·God gave us this command [L we have this command from him]: Those who love God must also love their brothers and sisters [C fellow believers; John 13:34]. EXB

Friends, I need these words this morning. I believe the Lord is lifting me up. Lifting my head, saying, Daughter, you are better than this. You are more than this.

So, for me, maybe for you, we need to remember we are more than the mud pile Satan invites us to play in (that actually is a tar pit). God has gardens for us to play in. 🙂 His Spirit is here to guide us. Give us ways out of the temptation. His hand extends to you, to me.(See, I have ·written [engraved; inscribed] your name on my ·hand [palms].Isaiah 49:16)  His Word in our hearts showing us the strength that resides in those who call God Father.

Love Him? Love those who surround you whom God has called.

Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare of the Day:

Three Startling Graces of God:

109. He holds His scarred, strong, merciful hand to His daughter, always.

110. His Word, so thankful for His Word.

111. His Spirit, guiding, directing, moving me towards my heavenly home.

We all have people and situations that will be challenging us. Pushing us to new growth, not to wallow in pity or anger that people aren’t perfect like us. I think, wait, I know whom God graces to put in our lives, there is a purpose for us. We can’t wait until the pain is over. We can’t wait until people start acting better, doing better. Then we can check that off our list, right? No, John said it. We love God? Well, then, we love those whom God puts in our lives. All of ’em. Not just the easy ones.


Pray on. Pray.