Archive | January 2018

The Mirror of Truth


I haven’t thrown away my hand mirror. It’s beautiful antique given to me by a friend, but I’m spending less time looking at my face than I used to do. At first, it was because I did not want to see the wrinkles there.  I’m not uptight about them, anymore.  I’ve accepted them as a normal part of aging. Hopefully, smile wrinkles outnumber worry lines.

More importantly, I finally understand the truth that “skin-beauty” is not nearly as important as what I call “heart-beauty”.  God sees beyond the condition of my face to the condition of my heart. I’ve learned that an unhappy, angry, or worried heart cannot be hidden behind beautiful skin. Whether I like it or not, the expression on my face reflects the condition of my heart.

God’s mirror of truth is Scripture. I love Scripture. When I look in this mirror the Holy Spirit shows me exactly what I am like. He shows me the wrinkles and blemishes in my heart—things such as worry-lines, anger-pimples, and ugly-acne–caused by my reaction to hurt. Sometimes it’s painful to see the truth about myself; I feel ashamed and want to hide.

I don’t hide because the mirror of Truth is held in the hand of a Loving Savior. Jesus does not condemn me. He simply wants to give me the kind of loving, generous, and good heart that he has. When I receive his words of truth, he heals the hurts in my heart and cleanses it from all ugliness.

Why do I spend more time in front of God’s mirror than I do my bathroom mirror? It’s so much more rewarding!

Suggested Activity

Reflect on the following Scripture and poem. Invite the Holy Spirit to speak to you. Then, write out your thoughts in the form of a prayer. Share it with a friend, if you want to do so.

Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. (Psalm 19:12)
Search me, O God, and know my heart. (Psalm 139:23a)

Just as I am
I come to you, Lord.

I don’t understand the confusion within.
(Of what am I guilty? How have I sinned?)

Search my heart
Not, in a condemning
Introspective way, as I have done.

I’ve taken too many painful trips into the past,
Discovering only despair;

With the power and sweetness of your Grace,
Correct my distorted vision.

Cut my attachment to falsehood.
Bond my soul with truth.

1/23/2018 Jane Ault

This entry was posted on January 26, 2018. 8 Comments

Cooperating with the Holy Spirit for Personal Transformation


I grew up in a traditional church where every Sunday at the end of the service, I joined the rest of the congregation in singing, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost”. Yet, I had no idea of who the Holy Ghost (another name for the Holy Spirit) was. He seemed, indeed, like a ghost, hiding somewhere in the church. In some mysterious way he was related to God, but  I did not think of the Holy Spirit as my personal teacher.

However, in the Gospel of John, Jesus said that that is exactly who the Spirit is for those who follow him. These are his words: “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name . . . will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26) 

Over the years, I’ve gradually learned to recognize the Holy Spirit’s voice, and I’ve discovered that he is an amazing teacher, wonderful friend, and ever-present helper. It is impossible for us to develop the character of Christ without his assistance. 

With his x-ray vision, he sees the abscess of unhealthy thoughts and destructive behaviors that we hide from ourselves and others. A true friend, he loves us enough to speak the truth even when it’s painful for us to hear it.  A compassionate physician, he offers help but does not overpower us and force us to comply with his directions. A wise counselor, he does not do for us what we can do for ourselves, but he gives us the power to do impossible things. 

In my book, Emotional Freedom: The Choices We Must Make, I describe cooperation with the Holy Spirit as a dance and I describe it in this way:

The concept of dancing with God delights me. I call this dance with Jesus “Choosing Grace.” It has two basic steps—grace and responsibility. Grace is God’s step of love toward me. Responsibility is my step of love toward God. Jesus said, “If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love” (John 15:10 MSG). 

Choosing grace is about dancing in such a close relationship with Jesus that his nature becomes a part of us, motivating our decisions and empowering our behavioral changes. Here is a clear Biblical statement describing the interaction between grace and responsibility: “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12–13 NIV).

My poem, today, is a tribute to the Holy Spirit and an expression of gratitude to Jesus for this wonderful gift.

The Holy Spirit is your gift
He helps me so I do not drift

From the pathway you’ve laid out
Into lanes of fear and doubt

He tells me things I do not know
And he’s patient when I’m slow

Allowing me to try once more—
When my performance has been poor

Never does he leave my side
From his eyes, I cannot hide

For this, I’m thankful everyday—
Here I laugh and here I play

Songs of joy and hymns of praise
Reflecting on your splendid ways

Jesus, you are purest Light
In your presence, I delight

Of your goodness, let me tell
In every virtue, you excel

Beyond measure is your grace
How I long to see your face

Lord, in my remaining days
May what I do reflect your ways

May who I am resemble you
Holy Spirit, keep me true

1/12/2018 Jane Ault

Questions for Reflection

  1. In your “dance of choosing grace”, which step are you stronger in? receiving grace or accepting responsibility
  2. If you have difficulty receiving grace, ask the Holy Spirit to show you what the barriers might be.
  3. If you have difficulty accepting responsibility, ask the Holy Spirit to show you who he might have in mind to help you. 



This entry was posted on January 16, 2018. 3 Comments

What is God Calling You to Create in 2018?


“I’m not creative like you are; I could never write a poem.” 

When someone says something like that to me, I feel very sad. Not because I expect everyone to love writing poetry or to have the ability to do so, but because of what that statement implies.

At the very least, it implies these two things: 1) creativity is a genetic trait, which a few people inherit and most do not. 2) In order for me to be creative, I must be like some “recognized” creative personality and mimic what that person does. God makes no clones.

These are self-damaging and God-dishonoring lies. They keep us from developing the creative gift that each one of us has been given. And they keep us from connecting with the supportive people we need in our lives in order to receive affirmation, instruction, and not become discouraged. 

I’m immensely grateful for the teachers, counselors, mentors, and friends that God has given me over the years. Without them, I would never have written much. Without them, I would not have had the courage to publish anything. Without them, I would have thrown out valuable manuscripts. 

Without their help, I would not have recognized my own creative gift or even believed that I had one.  I hope that this year you will believe that you are a creative person and that you will develop your creativity for your own enjoyment, for the blessing of others, and for the glory of God. 

As usual, I can best say these things through the words of a poem. The word “poem” is a metaphor for who you are–a magnificent creation of God.

God took a simple speck of dust
And with his breath, fashioned us.
With joy, he viewed his finished task—
created beauty, pure, unmasked.

Though we’ve fallen from that place
God forms anew, with saving grace.
In hope, our wounded spirits rise
as he with faith anoints our eyes.

Oh, hallelujah, praise the Lamb
God’s happy poem of love, I am.
He gives us each a special name.
We are alike, yet not the same.

Each one of us is one of His.
May we know unhindered bliss,
God’s fellowship throughout our days,
His holiness, in all our ways.

He stamped his image on YOUR soul.
May you reach his chosen goal
that when before His throne you stand
with joy, you’ll touch His pierced hand.

And hear him say, “My child, well done!”
“You look exactly like my Son.”
“I like your work, your finished “poem”.
“Come in my child, welcome home.”

Questions for your reflection:
1) What is your creative gift?
2) In what way(s)have you developed it?
3) What is God calling you create this year?
4) Who are the people that you will look to for affirmation, support, and accountability?

This entry was posted on January 12, 2018. 6 Comments

How to Not “Lose Heart”

My husband and I have back problems, and it’s been a challenge to find a bed in which we can comfortably sleep. For several months, we’ve been playing “musical beds”–similar to the game of musical chairs.  Finally, I think we’ve come up with the solution that will enable both of us to sleep with relative comfort.

We also are renewing our commitment to walk and to do the exercises we must do to strengthen our bodies. Maintaining physical fitness not only benefits us but also honors God. Nevertheless, the reality is that our physical bodies are “wearing away” (2 Corinthians 4:16).

This could cause us to become discouraged–lose heart. But we need not do so, for at the same time “our inner person is being renewed”  . . . This is our focus: “we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4: 17-18).

Focusing on the unseen but lasting treasures of God’s kingdom rather than the temporary displeasures of aging motivates us to continue doing the work that God has called us to do. It’s making a difference in how we spend our retirement years, as reflected in the following poem.

When the beauty of youth has diminished
And the strength of my back is gone;
When my reaction time is slower
And my eyes can’t read the fine print;

When my children are standing above me
And they no longer need my help;
In the challenging years called “retirement”—
Is there something God’s calling me to?

There are words yet to be spoken
Of wisdom, of comfort, of hope;
There are songs yet to be written
Of encouragement, love, and praise;

There are prayers yet to be uttered,
For those lost, those tired, those weak;
There are promises yet to be kept
Unto him who strengthens my days.

When reading and learning take longer
And I can’t remember some names;
When my joints have lost some cushioning
And my diet is somewhat restricted;

When the world around me is different,
And I don’t understand all the words;
In the challenging years called “retirement”—
Is there something God’s calling me to?

There’s a world needing forgiveness—
Those dying who still haven’t heard;
There’s a world needing God’s mercy—
Those lonely, those weary, those hurt.

There’s a world bent toward destruction—
Those lost who need to come home;
There’s a God waiting in heaven
For a church to obey his command.

So whatever may be my calling,
I will pursue it with all of my heart.
With my eyes focused on Jesus,
I will finish that chosen work.

Questions for Reflection:

  • What has God gifted you for and called you to do?
  • In the stage of life that you are now in, how can you best accomplish that work?
  • In what ways are you renewing your spirit so that you do not become discouraged?
This entry was posted on January 5, 2018. 10 Comments

Not Yet Sages . . . a Challenge to Keep Learning




You will understand it better by and by was one of my father’s favorite expressions. Now, I understand more clearly what he was talking about. Hopefully, I’ve gained a bit of wisdom. The Old Testament saint, Job,  said, “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.” 

Unfortunately, wisdom is not automatically connected with aging. Nor is the number of megabits of information stored in our brains an accurate measurement of the wisdom we possess. Wisdom is not necessarily related to IQ. The kind of learning that makes a difference is not how much we know but what we do with what we know. 

 Wise people, according to the Gospel of Luke, are the ones who are just, righteous or godly.  (Luke 1:16,17) And, according to Jesus, greatness is related to being childlike. (Matthew 18)

Yet, keeping up with the changes and understanding how to navigate my way in an ever-changing world is still brings me some anxiety. Apparently, this is a common fear. (My post with the most views for 2017 was Freedom From the Fear of Aging. )

My plan for 2018 is the keep on learning, to gain a wisdom by diligently putting into practice the knowledge that I, by diligent study and God’s grace, have been given. I do not want to be included with the leaders whom Dallas Willard, in his book The Great Omission, says “do not finish well”. 

In the following poem, I express something of what that means for those of us who are seniors. In future posts, I will share more about what it takes to “finish well”.

 Lord, as we face many changes
We need help; we’re not yet sages.
We can’t assume that we’ve made it
And need no more to be aided.

When our bodies don’t feel as strong,
We find that we can’t get along
On just your word for yesterday;
We need fresh insight for today.

Might there be new ways we could think;
Yet with the old remain in sync?
Could we adapt and learn to say
What still is true another way?

Before we judge the younger folk
We need for you to take a look
At us! Is our journey complete?
Assuming so would bring us defeat.

Perhaps there’s more than just our spine
That can get swollen—out of line.
Oh Lord, we greatly need your grace—
Your hand to help us in this space—

This short gap between birth and death
In which we’ve been given breath.
We thank you, Lord, for all of life–
Love, laughter, hardship, strife.

You’ve brought us safely through each storm,
And we will trust in your strong arm
To keep us in our senior years
Steadfast in faith and free of cares.

10/5/2017 Jane Ault