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It’s a beautiful June morning, perfect for sitting on the front porch as I have coffee and do my Devotions. Sometimes it can be distracting, being outside. We face the street, neighbors walk by, I stop reading and writing to say hello and lose the flow.

I think God’s thrilled I say good morning to the neighbors. After all, soon we’ll go our separate ways into the day but for this moment, we’ve connected. I used to hide behind the flowers but now I look forward to seeing the regulars and people I’ve never seen.

But this morning our street has barricades. The city is putting in a new pipeline or something. I’m not sure. I packed up my things and came inside. “It’s a beautiful day,” I said to Fannie, our dog, “but noisy!”

“Yeah, it’s too bad,” Todd called down from upstairs. My voice had carried, and those of the workmen on the street, sounds carry, sounds of irritation, or peaceful sounds like bird songs. I decided to imagine birds singing.

Todd came down the steps then and closed the door, “Put your music on and you’ll hardly hear it,” he said. The bulldozer and the drilling, he meant.

“Alexa?” I said. “Play Give Thanks Radio Station on Pandora.” And can you believe it? The scripture I had just read on the porch, Isaiah 53:3, before closing up shop out there, floated from the voice within the speaker and filled our living room, saying these words—

But he was pieced for our transgressions, crushed for our inequities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. And I had written down, “By his wounds we are healed,” having been struck by the word, “healed” and then the words, “by his wounds.”

Now here they were again, as if I needed to hear them again. Then the song followed: “The Power of the Cross,” Christ became sin for us. We stand forgiven at the Cross.

Healed and forgiven.

I don’t know about you, but as I move through these days, I am aware of this Presence within me, almost like the imaginary friend, Penuckle, I had has a child, but much better. The Presence is always with me. I have come to know Him as my real Friend. Jesus. His Spirit in me.

I don’t hear an audible voice any more than I heard Penuckle’s, but more a deep inner sense and awareness of my intentions and motivations, among other things, questioning if they are pleasing to God, or if I am merely pleasing my own whims and ways.

There is a fine line we can cross in promoting our own feelings, emotions, and thoughts, over and above the Truth we have been taught, and we can get caught. I get caught.

There is vain ambition, condemnation and self-recrimination. Because of my sin. I can’t call it anything else. It’s not a popular word, I know, but it’s as important a word as love is. Because either God, who is love, or sin, that is not, will win, in whatever is going on. The choice is mine, love or sin.

“The punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Do you ever find yourself caught wasting time, putting yourself down when there is such a better way of recognizing sin? Surrender. Others seem to have figured this out so much better, discovered how to live in strength and joy because there is no condemnation in Christ.

There’s my struggle, that’s why the words, “And by his wounds we are healed,” jumped out at me this morning. And then were repeated on Pandora, I’m assuming. God never minds going over things line by line, and repeating them as often as needed, I have found.

We stand forgiven at the Cross. God doesn’t stop loving us when our thoughts or actions carry us away from His Ways. But when my own heart and mind turn away from His Truth, I find myself wallowing in my weaknesses rather than worshipping with awe throughout the day. There is always the choice. You know the Way, I can hear Him say.

When I wonder how it is that there can be a God who comes so intimately into our lives, reminding us of this freedom found in Him, of the love and grace always waiting to be received, all because of Jesus and that Cross, I say, “Wow. It’s such a Mystery.”

I love living in the Mystery of life. There’s never a dull moment, only a dull me if I don’t. I don’t know, maybe you needed this word today too, or maybe I just needed to write it down to drive it home.

It’s a fine day! (And a fine line!)

I had a birthday this week. My __7th as my husband wrote on FB. There’s a new year ahead, and this is what I have to say about that. Old wounds are healed. We’re forgiven to forgive, loved to love, and called to live each day in God’s freedom, and in His more than sufficient grace.

Could we be any more blessed?

That’s Fannie peeking through. If I take the gate down she’s off chasing rabbits. Don’t you just love Peonies? “A visual feast” my neighbor said.

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