By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    It’s 2:30 a.m. in the morning;
      mind is occupied with weighty thoughts.
    I rise because I cannot sleep.
    Enter my “book” room and scan the shelves for
    a particular book of comfort.
    Selection: Grace Abounding
    Author: John Bunyan
    Renown writer of The Pilgrim’s Progress.
    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 speaks candidly to the intimate arena of internal affliction.
    My eyes light upon a dog-eared page.
    An excerpt from the great saint’s afflicted 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.

    Many find it difficult to believe,
    A great saint like John Bunyan could experience such
     an intensive, internal, horrific affliction as this ....
    And yet he did!
    Indeed, on the heels of great afflictions, such as this,
    He penned some of the most remarkable literary words the world has ever read.
    He could not control the name or scope of his personal affliction,
    but he could learn to master its difficult condition
    and pursue His walk with Christ in greater and more emphatic intensity as a result.
    This, to me, is more remarkable, inspiring and encouraging,
    than all of his greatest works put together.
    John Bunyan identified his "afflictions" at the end of his life as a 
    catapult to his deep and developed faith;
    not a hindrance.
    Afflictions in our lives may cause us to question, as John Bunyan did,
     a great deal...
    about ourselves and God.
    But they must not become a roadblock to our faith
    Or its development.
    Indeed, God has a work to do yet!
    John Bunyan urges and reminds....
     in personal affliction
    to move toward a deeper and more deliberate walk with Christ.
    Compelled to love the compelling One…
    He 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 of God and his final testimony
    secured him a wondrous and glorious ovation both on earth and in heaven.
    He urges me to do the same; affirming and asserting the marvelous reality .....
    Christ triumphs over affliction,
    Praise the Lord!
    Afflictions have different names;
    arrive in different forms,
    in each of our lives.
    But in the end…
    They prove an extraordinary catalyst to a wondrous conformity.
    Stay the course!
    God has a work for you;
    He's preparing you .... for something down the road.
    increase your time with Him,
    Intensify your time in the word,
    Invest in more prayer ...
    And prove Him.
    God will be faithful in your affliction.
    “I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are right,
    and that Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.”
    Psalm 119:75


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    I have come into Your presence,
    To Your holy, righteous place;
    Seeking pardon and forgiveness,
    For the sins I have embraced.

    For the hurts I have been holding,
    For the bitterness within;
    Holy Spirit, come and wash me,
    In the secret place … again.

    Let Your mercy fall upon me,
    Let my mind be made anew;
    Breathe new life within me, Jesus,
    So that I can worship You.

    Stir my spirit to surrender,
    Set my heart on what is true;
    Let your holiness surround me,
    In the secret place with You.

    “Create in me a clean heart, O God;
    And renew a right spirit within me.”
    Psalm 51:10



    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    It’s a potluck Sunday.
    Folks bring a “dish” to pass;
    Enjoy fellowship together after church.
    Meal is over,
    Dishes washed.
    Head for home and grab my glass dish.
    Eyed carefully by Katharine;
    think nothing of it.
    Smile and walk out the door.
    Weeks pass by …
    Katharine notably cool toward me.
    Avoidance becomes a concerning theme.
    Receive a knock on my door several weeks later.
    Red-faced, flustered, questioning.
    “Gave you time to return my glass dish, would like it back.”
    I’m a little slow on the draw,
    takes me a moment.
    She repeats her glass dish accusation.
    I’m mildly amused;
    Deer in the headlights look.
    Is this ridiculous moment really happening?
    Should I laugh or earnestly contend for the glass dish?
    Disharmony has been fostered in the body of Christ,
    Through a glass dish.
    Small discussion ensues.
    Know it’s mine but … does it matter?
    Go get the dish, apologize profusely.
    Feel the minute tiny chip on the underside declaring a silent vindication.
    The glass dish is passed off,
    Several months pass.
    Another knock at the door;
    Red-faced, flustered, embarrassed.
    “Someone accidentally took my glass dish at the last potluck,
    Guess this was yours after all.”
    Shoves it toward me.
    Awkward apology expressed through a reprimand.
    “Young folks need to be more careful,” she trails off.
    “Got stuff disappearing left and right.”
    Can’t imagine what the “stuff” all includes;
    Gravy bowls, bread pans, serving spoons?
    Silent entertaining wonderings.
    Stares at me with cold hazel eyes…
    waiting for something.
    “Your welcome,” she offers.
    Thankful for unnecessary words unsaid.
    Thankful for God’s grace imploring me to love rightly.
    Awkward stiff hug;
    still counts.
    Piece of Katherine exists in all of us.
    Question to ask:
    What’s my glass dish?
    Ponder, pray, reflect, confess.
    Let the glass dish with the tiny chip on the underside go.
    Serve up the dish called grace;
    Grow up in faith.
    Pay attention to what matters.
    And …..
    If you find a glass dish of mine, fill it up and pass it on to another.
    Borrow a gas can and forget to return it? Fill up another’s tank with it.
    For heaven’s sake;
    There’s more at stake!

    Need to care about each other more,
    possessions less.
    Need to love better,
    laugh easier.
    Swallow pride,
    Let go.
    Part with more.
    Represent our Savior in a gracious, demonstrative way.
    Need to remember:
    We are stewards, not owners;
    Caretakers, not possessors.
    We’ll take nothing with us,
    But faith and folks.
    So ...
    In Christ's name and for His sake;
    Take the "dish of grace" and pass it on!
    “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.
    But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt,
    and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
    For where your treasure is,
    There will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19-21


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    If your enemy is hungry,
    You must give him food to eat;
    If your enemy is thirsty,
    You are not to make retreat.

    It is given you to fill him,
    It is given you to love;
    If you haven’t it within you,
    God will give it from above.

    He will match the most unlovely,
    With a correlating grace;
    He will give you strength to suffer,
    One you’d choose to never face.

    He will strengthen, He will meet you,
    At the crux of every ill;
    Those who’ve done a wrong against you,
    You’re to love them … even still.

    God will recompense the evil,
    He, alone, decide the case;
    You must simply offer mercy,
    Trusting God to give you grace.

    Feed the enemy that’s hungry,
    Fill the cup that’s given you;
    Choose to overcome an evil,
    Trusting God for what He’ll do.
    “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
    For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
    Do not be overcome by evil,
    but overcome evil with good.
    Romans 12:20-21



    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    Today my name is visitor.
    Attending church with son Joshua,
    Bemidji, Minnesota.
    Church is sizeable.
    Pastor is polished.
    Congregation is politely congenial.
    Typical American Evangelical church.
    Praise band followed by tithe collection,
    followed by special music.
    Special music feature:
    Unlisted name,
    Stocky balding gentleman, late 30’s,
    Contemporary band-style look;
    a twist of originality.
    Fancy acoustic guitar is set aside…
    And an original “likeness” of a guitar displayed.
    Holds the unique creation up:
    He’s taken an oil can;
    Turned it into the “body” of a guitar.
    Used the basics …constructed a homemade acoustic.
    It’s impressively … remarkable.
    Both instruments are played masterfully.
    Both instruments playing the same song;
    A song about grace.
    The guitars strike a chord in me,
    tell a story about grace:
    One guitar worth thousands of dollars;
    one guitar salvaged from scraps.
    One guitar draws the eye;
    one guitar strangely repels.
    One guitar of perfect shape;
    one guitar of no appeal.
    But both guitars … play music.
    Grace isn’t drawn to certain makes, shapes, or molds.
    Grace comes in a one size fits all …
    and it fills all.

    Grace is Christ’s blood being exacted on sin-stained lives;
    transmitting a beautiful sound through different instruments.
    Grace can work with precious metal;
    grace can work with scraps.
    But grace will … play on.
    Grace has the power to play through any instrument;
    it can take an oil can containing the darkest of sin content….
    Gossip, cheating, lying, stealing, pornography, adultery, idolatry
    and whatever sin you need to add …

    and cleanse and transform the vessel into something
    usable and beautiful to the Master.
    God is the maker of every instrument, individual, and soul.
    He has the power to take the contents of "your" life,
    And compose ...
    A song about grace.
    Give yourself over to Him;
    And listen to the music.
    “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you;
    that ye,
    always having all sufficiency in all things,
    may abound to every good work.”
    2 Corinthians 9:8


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    He cares about the sparrow small,
    He clothes the lily sweet;
    There’s not a single care or need,
    But God alone will meet.

    Limitations don’t exist,
    And nothing does appear;
    To give the great Creator,
    Any cause for any fear.

    Nothing can alarm Him,
    Nor surprise Him ‘bout your need;
    Nothing can detract Him,
    He will always intercede.

    For He careth for the sparrow,
    And He clothes the lily sweet;
    Every need that He’s created,
    He intends to fully meet.
    “But seek ye first the kingdom of God,
    and His righteousness;
    and all these things shall be added unto you.”
    Matthew 6:33


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    Now I lay me down to sleep,
    I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
    If I should die before I wake,
    I pray the Lord my soul to take.

    This little mechanical, obligatory prayer
    Imposed itself upon me in childhood
    by my parents.
    Prayed it every night;
    without understanding a word.
    “Death” to a child is like trying
    to define divorce or murder.
    It’s not a graspable concept.
    It’s a scary, illusive concept.
    The prayer frightened me.
    God frightened me.
    I didn’t like to pray.
    To this day I grow restless with forms of liturgy or manufactured sentiment;
    And that which is mechanical, imposed, obligatory, ritualistic, and rote;
    My soul finds dry, irksome, and tedious.
    God is alive; He is real.
    He is not a mechanical being waiting to hear a rehearsal of Christian flavored words.
    He longs for me to be simple, exposed, trusting, real, and without pretense.
    He longs for me to approach Him with unguarded words,
    an unmasked heart …
    and a simple sinner’s language;
    To talk plainly, clearly, and truthfully.
    To speak in a way that demonstrates that
    I know who I am …
    And I know who He is.

    This is prayer to me.
    Speak plainly; He’ll get the message.
    Call unto Me and I will answer thee,
    and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.
    Jeremiah 33:3


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    The greater the odds stacked against me,
    The higher my heart seems to soar;
    The stronger becomes the resistance,
    The strength that is only … the more.

    Surely the woes of affliction,
    The strain of adversity, great;
    Is merely the "sign" of a pruning,
    A marking and sealing of fate.

    Look on the man with the sorrow,
    Not with a pity or strain;
    But see how his pathway is straightened,
    Thrust...by the springboard of pain.

    O for the heights that do tower,
    That teach us the lessons we learn;
    And O, for the heart cultivating,
    The wisdom to rightly discern.

    Joy shall be mine in the morning,
    Sweetest the rays of the sun;
    On he who has walked through the darkness,
    And waits … for the morning to come.

    “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous;
    nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peacable fruit of righteousness
    unto them which are exercised thereby.”
    Hebrews 12:11



    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    Never been one of those animal loving people.
    Expect Dugan took me as close as I will get.
    Neighbors pawning off a large litter of puppies;
    Felt it our duty to help with puppy distribution.
    Easy selection.
    Black, roly-poly little fellow, grabbed my attention immediately.
    Springer Lab cross.
    Named him Dugan.
    Wiggled into life amicably.
    First time endearment:
    Found him stuck in the narrow banister porch railings;
    Head on one side; too fat belly on the other.
    Major dilemma.
    Poor little thing was in a frenzy; frantic with anxiety.
    Required help.
    His first thank-you;
    An overly enthusiastic lick.
    Worked like a charm.
    Dugan grew.
    Had an irresistible, contagious enthusiasm about him.
    Attached himself to our son; made an inseparable bond.
    Dugan’s chief love; hunting.
    Joshua's chief love; hunting.
    A formidable pair.
    The dog was impossible to beat:
    Stellar scent, uncanny ability to be at the right place at the right time.
    “Amazing bird dog.”
    None comparable;
    the well-trained and elite were humbled.
    Dugan was provoked by four objects:
    Joshua, hunting gear, shotgun, shells.
    These objects wielded great power;
    Sent his whole body into a quivering, excitable state,
    erupting into a zeal and impossible energy in the open field.
    In a league of his own:
    Miss the dog:
    Enthusiastic zeal, energy,
    Devotion, eager intensity, spontaneity.
    Dugan’s nature.
    Can a dog’s nature inspire a man?
    Inspired me.
    Fervent prayer request:
    Dugan’s zeal …. in me.
    Passionately responsive to spiritual stimuli.
    Fervently enthusiastic for Jesus Christ.
    Intense, alert, subject to the Master.

    Request four provoking objects:
    1) My Master 2) His Word 3) People 4) Message of the Gospel.
    These objects ought to wield great power;
    Send my whole being into a quivering, excitable state,
    erupting into a zeal and impossible energy in the world:
    Empowered by the Holy Spirit.
    Faithful Master looks down at me;
    His approval ....
    garners an earnest internal tail wag from me.
    Guess in a nutshell
    I want to be earnestly enthusiastic for my Savior.
    A little piece of Dugan in me.
    “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
    Philippians 3:14


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    They said she was a beauty,
    Never saw her for myself;
    But a replica to suit her,
    Sits up nicely on my shelf.

    She was made a wooden vessel,
    With the strongest sail and mast;
    Made by hands that knew the ocean,
    And a mind to hold her fast.

    She was everything a sailor,
    Ever hopes for in a dream;
    She was named The Irish Beauty,
    And her voyage always clean.

    Never mind the ocean churning,
    Never mind the tempest’s gale;
    She was deemed to be successful,
    If her name was on the sail.

    It was on a night uncertain,
    When the winds began to blow;
    The waves began to beat about,
    And toss her, to and fro.

    The sailors, unrelenting,
    Never wavered from her side;
    She was sure to match the fierceness,
    On her strength ....and in her pride.

    But a boat is only wooden,
    And constructed out of hand;
    Can be beaten and be broken,
    By what can’t be seen or planned.

    So it was, The Irish Beauty,
    When the winds became untamed;
    The churning of the ocean sank ….
    The Irish Beauty’s fame.

    We are each like broken vessels,
    We are human and we’re frail;
    Like the ship we can be broken,
    And so often we can fail.

    Some ride voyages uncertain,
    Some have storms that rage within;
    Some have battles so enormous,
    Seem impossible to win.

    Every sailor needs a Savior,
    Broken vessels let us know;
    Jesus is the only answer,
    When the winds begin to blow.
    "Come unto Me all ye that labor, and are heavy laden,
    and I will give you rest."
    ​Matthew 11:28

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