May 13, 2021

If only I had known

Long before text messaging reduced words to their first letters, writers and editors referred to a commonly over-used plot as IOIHK – “If only I had known.

Books, movies, stories, areas of miscommunication, and misspent lives have infamously fallen into the IOIHK category. But in this time of rampant misunderstanding between various peoples and traditions of faith, we poets, writers, pastors, teachers, parents, politicians, caregivers, and other leaders can be mindful of cultures, levels of maturity, and opinions unlike our own. 


If Only I had Known often means we didn’t bother to find out!

The remedy, of course, is to check our emotions and check the facts.

  • Ask questions to clarify.
  • Listen – truly and intently.     
  • Aim to hear another perspective.
  • Research.
  • Investigate both sides.
  • Look for workable solutions.
  • Show respect.
  • Build bridges.
  • Embrace the blessing of diversity!

Can we do this on our own? Probably not! But we can agree to pray for God to help us to be open to other perspectives and peaceful possibilities for healing.

©2021, Mary Harwell Sayler, poet-writer

P.S. If you're writing a book or script, please be sure IOIHK is not the story plot!


April 30, 2021

I Sing Better With Him Behind


Has your voice ever slid off-key for lack of breath or unfamiliarity with a hymn? As our vocal chords age, it’s harder for most of us to hold a note or stay consistently in tune.

When our extended family members come back to Florida for the winter and early spring, I look forward to Henry’s return. As soon as I see him, I eagerly point to the seat behind me where I can hear his pleasing voice. Not only that, but my own voice instantly improves!

Who do you need to have your back?

What voice do you hope to hear?

What key verses keep you in tune with God’s Will?


Prayer: Loving Father, help us to hear You well as You speak to us through Your Word. Help us to stay on key with Your truth and love. Help us to sing Your praises this and every day in Jesus’ Name.


©2021, Mary Sayler

April 4, 2021

Poem for Easter

For You,

I turned water into wine, purified in the veins
of My own body. I climbed mountains, healed
crowds of hunger, warmed a leper’s skin. For
you I chastised leaders, halted stones, wrote on
the ground each word contained in Love.
I overturned unfair prices and low wages, tabled
discussions about who’s first or last, and enjoyed
the most unlikely company.
Before My execution, I tamed a donkey, became
your beast of burden, then bled from every pore.
Once for all, I buried death, and, when I arose,
some saw Me. Some heard Me as I broke through
the veil, cloaking time and eternity, and, yes,
for you, I’d do it all again.

Mary Harwell Sayler from book A Gathering of Poems

April 1, 2021

Where are we on the Cross?

As we head toward Good Friday and the crucifixion of Jesus, the biblical command to “take up your cross and follow Christ” comes to mind. Sadly, we might think this means carrying heavy weights or generally being miserable throughout our lives when, actually, it’s the opposite!

Taking up our cross and following Christ is meant to be freeing, not burdensome. It’s meant to exchange our self-will for the will of God.

God gave us free will, so the decision to follow the Lord is ours to make. However, this doesn’t mean, literally, to take up our own crucifixion or other human sacrifice. As you’ll recall, the Bible consistently reminds us that God the Father prohibited human sacrifice as the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22 clearly demonstrates.

The only time God the Father required a human sacrifice was of Himself in His fullness as Jesus the Son of God and the son of Mary.

So how do we go about obeying the Lord’s command to take up our cross and follow Him as a living sacrifice? Doesn't it mean to exchange our free will for the will of God and our old selves for new life – new spiritual birth in Christ?

Searching key words and phrases on the Bible Gateway website helps to clarify. For example:

We know that our old self [our human nature without the Holy Spirit] was nailed to the cross with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin,” Romans 6:6, Amplified Bible (AMP.)

or to put it another way:

This is what we know: the person that we used to be was crucified with him in order to get rid of the corpse that had been controlled by sin. That way we wouldn’t be slaves to sin anymore,” Romans 6:6, Common English Bible (CEB.)

Crucifixion means death, but when we take up His cross as our cross, we can follow Christ Jesus into His resurrection life – His life in the Spirit – beginning now!

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me,” Galatians 2:20, King James Version (KJV.)

In other words:

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me,” Galatians 2:20, New Living Translation (NLT.)


“So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus,” Romans 6:11, English Standard Version (ESV.)

Praise the Lord for His life, death, and resurrection in us!

May we wear our Lord’s Easter clothing as we follow Christ, now and forever, into the resurrected life.


March 10, 2021

You, The Chosen Race

No race but the human race in God’s eyes, but the Lord has much more in mind! Regardless of our skin color or cultural background, God has ordained us to be one: a Holy Nation, a Royal Priesthood, the people of God.

This hope – this prayer of the Almighty God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jesus – goes back thousands of years as these verses show:

“For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth,” Deuteronomy14:2, King James Version (KJV.)

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light,” 1 Peter 2:9, Revised Standard Version (RSV.)

If you’ll click on the highlighted chapters and verses above, those hotlinks will take you to many, many translations of the same passages as shown on the Bible Gateway website, but, throughout the Bible, the same idea appears.

Maybe this time we’ll get it right! Maybe this time we’ll have ears to hear.

Maybe this time we’ll respond – not with excuses or emotions or bad memories or experiences but with our own choice to be chosen.

No longer are we to be “us” versus “them.” As Galatians 3:28 says: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” English Standard Version (ESV.)

What a colorfully diverse peoples God’s chosen race is meant to be!

Sometimes those differences may clash, but if we’re all praying for God’s guidance and prepared to let Him work for our good – the good of All of His Chosen Race and Peculiar People – we’ll see God orchestrate even our worse memories into melody and bring harmony from discord.

Praying and following biblical guidelines for good make us more receptive to God’s love and the love of others. As 1 John 4:7 says:

“Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God,” Christian Standard Bible (CSB.)

What power we’ve been given to reveal God’s love to the world!

Born of God! No longer are we born into the DNA of racial tension or elitism over which we had no control, but – by our own choice – we can choose God’s Way over our own.

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise,” Philippians 4:8, New Living Translation (NLT.)


Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2021


March 9, 2021

Poetry Editor: Turning Point

Our country needs a volta!

This new post can help us to focus on what we most want to say in our poems, sermons, blog posts, and other writings.

For more, click the hotlink below:

Poetry Editor: Turning Point: In poetry, a volta means a turning point indicated by a change of thought, scene, emotion, or perspective. 

February 23, 2021

Taking God at His Word

When I proof my work online, I have trouble spotting mistakes, but when I read a book in print, my eyes often go to whatever needs correcting. I'm sorry to say, I didn't proof a printed copy of Kneeling on the Promises of God until after publication.

I've now corrected those errors and re-uploaded the book, but if you find something I've missed, please let me know. Thank you.

And may God bless you and your prayer life as you believe God means what He says - always - no mistakes!

February 16, 2021

Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down

This poem originally began on an Ash Wednesday – the first day of Lent which often focuses on the penitential Psalm 51 and encourages us to look at ourselves honestly then confess what needs confessing, change what needs changing, accept what needs accepting, and receive the joy of God’s forgiving love. 

Begun in Ashes

Create in me a clean heart, O God
and renew a right spirit within
all who come to You
in sorrow for our sins.

Whenever we’re out of line
with Your love, Lord,
we thank You for revealing
the truth and not hiding
our errors behind ashes!

We praise You for making us
with pure forgiveness
we don’t even deserve,
yet bringing us back
into Your embrace,
so we can face You again
without shame.

No matter where we go
in this life or this Lent
help us to glow, Lord,
as we walk in the Light
of Your Name.

by Mary Harwell Sayler, © 2021


January 21, 2021

Bible Reviewer: Eco Bible: Volume 1

Bible Reviewer: Eco Bible: Volume 1:  

The Eco Bible, published by The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, brings us a spiritual, ecological commentary on the first two books of the Bible.


January 12, 2021

Must we be divided?

This quote often attributed to Abraham Lincoln is actually a word from Jesus:

"And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand," Mark3:24-25, King James Version (KJV.)

Regardless of our political preferences and despite our worse fears, may God's people come together as one Body of Christ!

Until the Lord comes again, the Family of God is the hope and the hands-on instrument of healing unity for individuals, the church, our country, and, indeed, the world.

Pray for wisdom!

Pray for the Lord's power to flow through us - mightily.

Pray for the Kingdom of God!


If only I had known

Long before text messaging reduced words to their first letters, writers and editors referred to a commonly over-used plot as IOIHK – “ If o...