By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    The album cover portrays a small rural setting:
    An old country church fortified with white cathedral windows shouldering a simple white steeple.
    Alan Jackson's figure is off to the side;
    Emerging gently in the sunlight, face tilted down, and signature cowboy hat donned.
    The scene is peaceful,
    The singer is powerful,
      One CD remains.
    It's mine.
    My old copy disappeared two years ago and, even though it's not an item scribbled on my grocery list, the small spontaneous purchase excites me and fills me with a sudden anticipation.
    Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Blueberry muffins will have to wait.
    Hmmm ...
    "Precious Memories" collection indeed.
     I slide the CD into the tray and make my trek down I 29.
    I'd forgotten how much I'd missed Alan Jackson;
    His easy, unforced, natural country voice.
    The language of the old hymns sounds off in me ...
    And I love it all over again.
    #3 is repeated, and repeated, and repeated.
    As it was back then so it is still today,
     My personal favorite:
    "Just As I Am"
    No one sings "Just As I Am" like Alan Jackson.
    The words attach themselve to the soul provokingly, openly, and differently through his singing.
    The intention of writing out the stanzas of this great hymn will remain an intention.
    You'll be far more likely, dear reader, to locate, listen, and look up the song if I leave you with nothing more.
    Be a song in someone's life today.
    Leave a song in someone's life today.
    Listen all over again ...
    And believe.



    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    I'm driving down I 29.
    Traffic is busy and my lot is to fall in behind a great beast of a truck,
    bright yellow in color with side swirls of blue.
    A cement contracting company is etched in black on the belly.
    The words go round and round,
    And the yellow belly turns in hypnotic circles, revolving in cyclic motion, without ceasing.
    The work of the yellow belly, of course, is to keep the cement soft, pliable, and ready for pouring.
    The earnest, forceful revolutions prevent it from hardening on the inside.
    It must not stop,
    It must not cease,
     The yellow belly has a work to do.
    Hmmm ...
    God's word is a living, moving, and active word.
    Like a "yellow belly" holding concrete, it must continue its revolution for the profit of others.
    It must revolve continually in order that it doesn't harden and make lethargic the soul within. It must resist stationary movement and remain constant in an effort to be poured out for others.
    Anything less is dangerous.
    Anything less becomes motionless and powerless.
    Anything less becomes hardened and dead.
    Constipated Christianity is not effective.
    God's word is intended for movement, dear reader.
     Our lives are to go round and round like a yellow belly with His precious word continually being poured out;
    Acts of compassion being steadily and readily applied.
    Loving Christ in concrete ways.
    Pray for God's word to be poured out of you in an effectual way, today, that contributes to another soul's structure.
    For a yellow belly on a big truck,
    All praise to God.
    In movement and motion there is life.
    In movement and motion ...
    Lies the majesty and might of our beautiful and magnificent God.
    To Him be praise.
    "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
    Hebrews 4:12


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

     It’s 2:30 in the morning; my mind is occupied with weighty thoughts.
    I rise because I cannot sleep.
    I enter my little "library" and scan the shelves for a particular book of comfort.
    My selection: Grace Abounding
    Author: John Bunyan
    Extraordinary writer of The Pilgrim’s Progress and other significant great works.
    Exceptional and extraordinary preacher, writer and expositor of England in the 1600’s.
    My fingers touch the well-worn book, grateful for the writings and refuge of a fellow pilgrim;
    Grateful for an individual who identifies with my own internal affliction.
    John Bunyan ... a true companion on my spiritual journey.
    My eyes light upon a dog-eared page;
    An excerpt from the great saint’s soul:
    …I often found in my mind a great urge to curse and swear, or to speak some grievous thing against God, Christ His Son, or of the Scriptures. Now I thought, surely I am possessed of the devil. At other times, I thought I would be bereft of my senses; for instead of praising and magnifying God the Lord with others, if I but heard Him spoken of, presently some most horrible blasphemous thought or other would bolt out of my heart against Him.
    …These things did sink me into very deep despair, for I concluded that such things could not possibly be found among those who loved God.
    While this torture lasted, which was about a year, I could attend to none of the ordinances of God but with sore and great affliction; then I was most distressed with blasphemies, and despair would hold me a captive there. If I was reading, then sometimes I had sudden thoughts to question all I read. At other times my mind would be so strangely snatched away and possessed with other things that I neither knew, regarded, nor remembered as much as the sentence that just then I had read.
    The afflicted individual will derive comfort from these candid, reflective, honest difficult thoughts.
    The “un”afflicted may flinch and question whether such words ought to be written.
    Afflictions may surely differ in name, but their content suggests evidence that the heart’s owner is a deviant of the worst kind.
     I am familiar with this.
    John Bunyan was stricken with countless internal afflictions.
    Each, in the end, contributed to a deeper and more instructive search into the scriptures.
    Compelled to love the compelling One….
    He continued on.
    And because of this, John Bunyan whispers to every afflicted soul,
    You are not alone.
    Maintaining his affection for Christ and His word amidst the cruelest of internal afflictions;
    He continued His pursuit and his final testimony secured him a wondrous ovation both on earth and in heaven.
    Christ triumphs over affliction.
    Praise the Lord.
    Afflictions wear different names and arrive in different forms in each of our lives.
    In the end…
    They prove an extraordinary catalyst to a wondrous conformity.
    Stay the course, dear reader.
    “I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are right, and that Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.”
    Psalm 119:75


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    My fingers feel dumb and I can't quite find the right keys to tap to adequately define yesterday's experience:
    In the midst of 500 people,
    I interacted with Jesus for several hours.
    He was wearing plain men's clothes and he spoke in plain men's language.
    He came to Friday's food give-away out at the Sioux Empire fairgrounds, He stood in line, and we intersected and interacted.
    He opened up His large carboard box to me and I helped Him fill His box.
     I loved Him so hard inside, and felt Him so near to me, I didn't want the day to end.
    There will be more Fridays,
    There will be more opportunities,
    There will be more love to be had.
    I like knowing this and I'll live to find meaning in such service.
    Friday's food give-away (Faith Temple,) out at the fairgrounds is an extraordinary and reputable ministry in our community. It's a ministry where no person is treated like a "left-over" and no person is given "left-overs."
    Prejudice, critique, and questioning has no place in "this" place.
    The food give-away is a love give-away;
    A compassionate "get-away" and reprieve for folks who are faced with life's difficulties.
    The best of products and the best of supplies fills each individual's box preserving a needful message of value, dignity, and hope.
    And I think to myself ...
    What a beautiful difference we make when our lives become about filling other people's boxes.
    Jesus filled mine;
    Now I'll go and fill someone else's.
    And in doing so, I will meet Him,
    For He's told me:
    "For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me. Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger and invite You in, or naked and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison and come to You?'
    The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'"

    Matthew 25:35-40
    Mmmm ...
    For more information on this beautiful and impacting ministry,
    Google: Faith Temple food give-away.
    Be Blessed.
    Get involved and invest;
    In more of Jesus.


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    Shrapnel embedded in the mind.
    Fragments impaled in the soul.
    Slivered memories embedded in the secret place.
    An internal web of threaded wounds.
    And the fields are ripe for harvest.
    The alcoholic reaches for his bottle.
    The cutter reaches for her razor.
    The user reaches for his meth.
    The anorexic pushes away her plate.
    The obese reaches for two.
    The abuser taps on the porn.
    The smoker reaches for the Marlboro.
    The gossip passes along the word.
    And the fields are ripe for harvest.
    This sea of humanity broken by life's conditions.
    Playing host and hostage to sins unrelenting temporal aids.
    Creating temporal make-shift families drawn by a similar reach of remedy.
    Suffering uncontrollably.
    Bleeding and hemorrhaging unceremoniously.
    Lost. Abandoned. Isolated. Alone.
    "Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest."
    John 435
    And until our hearts break,
    Until we begin to walk through the fields of the wounded and dress the wounds,
    And carry stretchers offering aid to the maimed and derelict.
    Until we're willing to "touch" the diseased, impaired, and impoverished, and perform CPR on the lost in our midst.
    Until we love ...
    We are instigators and inducers to the growing problem of pain.
    We must activate our faith through our feet.
    We must see that our mission is right across the street.
    We must know who lives there and then go there.
    And we must love.
    "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."
    1 Corinthians 13:1


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    The sanctuary is quiet.
    Light streams in through twelve verticle stained glass windows transmitting colorful shafts of light on random pews.
    Traveling down the corridor of old wooden pews lined with burgandy hymnals and Bibles,
    My feet move toward the little haven for which I've come.
    Underneath the cross and partially hidden behind the pulpit, on the platform up front, sits an old communion remembrance table housing a massive King James Bible with the old Roman numeral system still employed.
    I lift the bulky Bible from the table, kneel down, and place the Bible in front of me on the floor.
    With both hands over the old pages I close my eyes and inhale the breath of the Father.
    These are His words to me:
    "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water; He turneth it whithersoever He will. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes; but the Lord pondereth the hearts. To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice."
    I place the heavy Bible back on the communion table.
    My knees hug the carpeted floor;
    My fingers touch the engraved words etched in caps on the table:
    There are crosses, like bookends, on either side of the words.
    My fingers caress each letter and each cross.
    The silent words of the disciple John whisper to me,
    "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, Which is, and which was, and which is to come. The Almighty."
    Revelation 1:8
    My limber frame slips with agility into the space underneath the table,
    And none can see me.
    This is my "Mercy Seat."
    My refuge,
    Safe haven,
    Resting place.
    My place of ...
    Adoration. Meditation. Contemplation.
    The place where the Christ meets me tenderly and mercifully.
    The place where Christ sees me and reminds me that "He" is my perfect remedy.
    His Word rests sweet over my head like an open wide shingle on a roof.
    Somehow I feel its presence protecting me and I like knowing it resides over the top of me.
    Christ covers me,
    With entirety, 
    His precious word to me.
    For a certain little while it's just me and God.
    And in this space and in this place I'm at home with Him and resting in Him.
    And I think to myself ...
    One day I won't crawl out from under the table of remembrance.
    I won't forget Him because I'll be forever with Him.
    Remembrance and rehearsal will be swallowed up by His glorious presence.
    I'll be with Christ in eternity,
    And that will be heaven.
    One day,
    Some day,
    My Daddy's coming back for me.
    That's the day I'm waiting for;
    But until then ...
    "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."
    John 14:3


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    We muddle about,
    In these human shells;
    Where fickleness hides,
    And frailty dwells.
    Reluctant to see, hear, and admit,
    The reality of our truest selves.
    We forsake grace and abide in the stranglehold of pretense.
    These frail shells need mercy.
    Mercy is the lodging place of the honest,
    Hungry soul.
    Mercy is the lodging place of the truly loved and known.
    Mercy’s magnitude exceeds sin’s altitude.
    It’s higher,
    Unfathomably measureless.
    And once we experience it,
    We extend it freely to others.
    To be loved without merit.
    To be known, forgiven, and received, with all frailties realized.
    This is redemptive love,
    Mercy's abode.
    The lodging place of the loving and living Christ.
    Forever and ever.
    “But I have trusted in Your mercy;
    My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.”
    Psalm 13:5


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    Would you love me if you knew me,
    In this heart of wicked bent?
    Would you know me if you saw me,
    In my mind and where I went?

    Would you tolerate or keep me,
    At a distance far away?
    Would you know me, recognize me,
    Still receive me … anyway?

    Many thoughts I often wonder,
    Many times I would profess;
    There is little that is lovely,
    In this heart of sinfulness.

    Simply nothing, simply needy,
    Simply coming to embrace;
    Simple mercy, simple pardon,
    Simply sweet, amazing grace.

    “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
    Psalm 51:10


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    "A supervolcano is a large volcano that has had an eruption of a magnitude 8, which is the largest value on the Volcanic Explosivity Index. The means the volume of deposits for that eruption is greater than 1,000 cubic kilometers (240 cubic miles).
    Supervolcanoes occur when magma in the mantle rises into the crust but is unable to break through it and pressure builds in a large and growing magma pool until the crust is unable to contain the pressure."
    Of 20 known supervolcanoes on earth;
    One is, oddly, situated in Yellowstone National Park which is spread out between the states of Wyoming (96%), Montana (3%), and Idaho (1%).
    The park plays host to a land span of 3,468.4 square miles.
    Yellowstone is known for its beauty, wildlife, and unusual variety of geothermal features;
    Old Faithful being the most familiar.
    Let the reader give thought to the facts recorded:
    -In 2015, there were 4.1 million visits made to Yellowstone National Park.
    -Revenue soared to 493.6 million in one year by communities surrounding and profiting through tourism.
    -7,737 jobs were sustained vocationally with a benefit to the local economy of a staggering $638.6 million.
    Impressive statistics for a "hillbilly" status comprised of midwestern states.  
    I'm not an alarmist but I do appreciate updates and educational fodder.
    The reader may find this also of interest in most recent news:
    "Hidden Falls is a region of northwestern Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park that includes a large rocky outcrop used (in part) by climbers and guides who train for the dangerous ascent up Grand Teton Mountain.
    Grand Teton National Park is directly south of, and connected to, Yellowstone National Park. On 10 July 2018, the Jackson Hole News and Guide reported that mountain guides had noticed new and growing cracks in the area:
    'Yesterday, Exum guides noticed cracks in the rocks,' Teton Park spokeswoman Denise Germann said. 'They communicated that to rangers this morning, and when they went to investigate they realized it had actually gotten bigger and expanded.'
    The crack is about 100 feet long, she said, and runs horizontally along a rock wall that's at least 100 feet tall.
    As a result of this discovery, rangers temporarily closed Hidden Falls and a neighboring area, citing safety concerns 'that a fissuring rock wall could tumble down onto onlookers.'
    'The whole area is prone to geological activity,' Germann said, 'but this was a very notable difference.' Park officials are searching for a National Park Service expert they can ship in to assess the risk of the potentially unstable rock wall."
    Amongst a great many other growing concerns in the area.
    When pressure builds,
    Where pressure builds,
    We sit up and take notice.

    Concerns are realized and studied with a more earnest readiness,
    And facts draw us into new and potential realizations.
    We become wiser, more alert, and more prepared.
    Hmmm ...
    A supervolcano eruption cannot be controlled, timed, or defused.
    She commands a stern respect and, as a result of recent volcanic activity occurring around the globe, Yellowstone's recent "crack" is being taken extremely serious.
    I think it's a lot like the return of Christ:
    The "cracks" are becoming more visible in all arenas of society and the "early signs" are eerily expressive and suggestive of something "supersized" coming around the bend.
    Indeed, the consummation of cataclysmic events combined with the fractured superstructure of governmental powers serves to remind us of the preparatory warnings given us in the Scripture a very long time ago.
    Everything God says in His word is going to happen in this world.
    Open it up and read it.
    Know it.
    Depend on it.
    Plan your life around and according to God's word.
    It can be trusted.
    Christ is going to return and, in the meantime, ample signs and warnings are going to continue their course and hasten in His soon and promised coming.
    Share the Gospel.
    Be about Kingdom business.
    Take care of eternal matters and begin with your own soul.
    Godspeed on your journey.
    "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."
    2 Peter 3:10
    "But the end of all things is at hand; be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."
    1 Peter 4:7


    By: Billy Joel

    It's nine o'clock on a Saturday
    The regular crowd shuffles in
    There's an old man sitting next to me
    Makin' love to his tonic and gin

    He says, "Son, can you play me a memory
    I'm not really sure how it goes
    But it's sad and it's sweet and I knew it complete
    When I wore a younger man's clothes

    La la la, di da da
    La la, di da da dum

    Sing us a song, you're the piano man
    Sing us a song tonight
    Well, we're all in the mood for a melody
    And you've got us feelin' alright

    Now John at the bar is a friend of mine
    He gets me my drinks for free
    And he's quick with a joke or to light up your smoke
    But there's someplace that he'd rather be

    He says, "Bill, I believe this is killing me"
    As the smile ran away from his face
    "Well I'm sure that I could be a movie star,
    If I could get out of this place"

    Oh, la la la, di da da
    La La, di da dum

    Now Paul is a real estate novelist
    Who never had time for a wife
    And he's talkin' with Davy, who's still in the Navy
    And probably will be for life

    And the waitress is practicing politics
    As the businessmen slowly get stoned
    Yes, they're sharing a drink they call loneliness
    But it's better than drinkin' alone

    Sing us a song you're the piano man
    Sing us a song tonight
    Well, we're all in the mood for a melody
    And you got us feeling alright

    It's a pretty good crowd for a Saturday
    And the manager gives me a smile
    'Cause he knows that it's me they've been comin' to see
    To forget about life for awhile

    And the piano, it sounds like a carnival
    And the microphone smells like a beer
    And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
    And say, "Man, what are you doin' here?"

    Oh, la la la, di da da
    La la, di da da da dum

    Sing us a song you're the piano man
    Sing us a song tonight
    Well we're all in the mood for a melody
    And you got us feeling alright
    This song produces a meloncholy sadness in me, intermingled with the formidable and not forgotten words of an honest individual who asserted that there was more truth to be found on a barstool than in a church pew.
    My own thoughts, ideas, and beliefs have been jarred and jostled about with great vehemence and I am ready to concede to wrong judgments imposed and stinging assertions applied.
    My critical heart lacked compassion.
    I was wrong about so much.

    The cast of characters involved in this song moves me in a profound and provoking way;
    They are beautiful, truthful, and real.
    They are "you and me" to some degree, and this is what makes the song powerful.
    The company that teaches us about truth, grace and the Father's love. The company welcoming and welcome in my midst.
    -The characters in the song are real.
    -The realities in the song are truthful.
    -The rhythm of the song is memorable and moving.
    Thanks for the song Mr. Piano man.
    I wonder who "you" are between the lines?

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