January 2007 Archives
Today is Monday, January 1st, 2007; Karen's Korner #966|
Happy New Year! A couple of items from a daily flip calendar of thoughts and writings from Mother Teresa for December 29 and 30; plus a prayer for December 31 from the same calendar titled "Heart of Joy":
** Each time anyone comes in contact with us,
they must become different and better people
because of having met us.
We must radiate God's love.
** Jesus wants to live his life in you,
to look through your eyes,
walk with your feet, love with your heart.
Shine through me,
and be so in me that every soul
I come in contact with may feel your presence
in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me,
but only you, O Lord! Stay with me,
then I shall begin to shine as you do;
so to shine as to be a light to others....
Let me thus praise you in the way you love best,
by shining on those around me.
~~ Cardinal Newman
Today is Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007; Karen's Korner #967|
I heard it on the radio, saw it reported on a Des Moines television station, but when I heard it on the national cable television station FOX News, I knew I had to call my sister who lives in Fertile!
Todd Lundgren, who is their next door neighbor in the town of less than 400, was one of the two heroes. It seems that he and his friend Larry Shropshire had coffee at the local convenience store. They were playing "follow the leader" with their pick ups driving down Fertile's main street, when some young kid came running out near their path. They had to help!! Three friends had fallen through the ice on the Winnebago River, which runs parallel to the town of Fertile. Lundgren, who happens to be a plumber, raced to the back of his pick up to retrieved a rope. He flagged down Larry.
The three young people -a boy and two girls ages 13, 12, and 11 - grabbed on to the life saving device. which Todd tossed out to them. Larry began his stomach crawl onto the thin ice and began pulling the three, one by one, out of the icy water.
While they were chilled, shaking and unable to stand for a bit, all three will be fine!
The authorities and rescue units were called. After the fact, the reporters began to call. The two men are being tagged as heroes. All Todd can say is, "I really didn't do that much!"
Being in the right spot at the right time. Having the right equipment handy. Keeping their wits about them. Doing the right thing for a minute or two or three can turn someone into a hero. Making a difference between life and death. Just doing what needed to be done!
I wonder if we can transfer that physical care and rescue to the spiritual realm? Keep studying and praying; helping when and where we can as God directs or as seems right according to what we are being taught. Who knows how many people you and I might rescue? And maybe the day when we arrive in heaven and God shows us the list of things we did and the "cups of cool water" that we gave to someone who was thirsty is recorded, we will say, "I really didn't do that much!"
But there it is recorded, as pretty important to God's Kingdom!
Today is Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007; Karen's Korner #968|
Focus on the Family's "Ctizen" magazine has a story titled "Astonishing Grace" by Stuart Shephard. It tells about the real-life Christian forgiveness of the Amish people from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, who had their faith tested by immeasurable amounts when a shooter killed and wounded numerous school children before taking his own life in October of last year.
Wes Yoder, who is quoted extensively in the article, said, "They are a sincere group of Christian people who decided that they don't need all of the modern conveniences. They don't need television. They don't need all the modern means of communication in order to enjoy life. In fact, they have a quality of life that is protected by not having all of that." He went on to say that for most of us, want to work through our grief before we even begin to think about forgiveness. But the Amish believe it must happen simultaneously.
And the world has been able to witness their forgiving and grieving spirits and natures, as they have been watched and interviewed. I heard it reported that there were more Amish people at the shooter's funeral than there were "normal" people. Many people have written and shared their comments with others on what they have witnessed and observed.
According to Shephard's article, perhaps the most illuminating comments came from the pen of Marie Roberts, the shooter's widow, in a note to the Amish:
“Our family wants each of you to know that we are overwhelmed by the forgiveness, grace and mercy that you've extended to us. Your love for our family has helped to provide the healing we so desperately need,” she wrote. “Your compassion has reached beyond our family, beyond our community and is changing our world, and for this we sincerely thank you.”
Today is Thursday, January 4th, 2007; Karen's Korner #969|
This was yesterday's email daily devotional from Jeff White. It is about worry. Could be something I read and learn from.......oh, let's say at least once a week. We know worry doesn't do any good. About the time we think we are getting pretty good at "not worrying", some occasion rears its head and here comes the worthless thoughts!
I was young, and now I am old,
but I have never seen good people left helpless
or their children begging for food.
We worry. We worry about the IRS and the SAT and the FBI.… We just love to worry. God reminds us that worry is useless, you can’t change anything.
In the world of time management, you have three choices: a) Worry which changes nothing, b) Do nothing and hope the problem goes away, or c) Pray about it. God is able to handle your problems and more.
If you are going to make any resolutions this new year, resolve to trust God more.
Today is Friday, January 5th, 2007; Karen's Korner #970|
This is a writing by advice columnist Ann Landers, titled "Perpetual New Year's Resolution". It is a good one.
But have you ever noticed that our good intentions and new year's resolutions are set-ups for failure. We say, "we want to lose 40 pounds". But do we celebrate when we lose five or don't gain any weight? Do we "want to not speak harshly to any one or get angry at the neighbor's cat/dog/kid any more?" Or do we focus on the one time we hold our tongue or tell the friend, "I am sorry."
We need to celebrate those small successes, because I believe God enjoys being a part of those small celebrations, which turn into more successes and more celebrations. Which some day turn into a way of life.
If you and I do even one of the things on Ann's resolution list, let the celebration begin:
PERPETUAL NEW YEARS RESOLUTION
Let this coming year be better than all the others. Vow to do some of the things you've always wanted to do but couldn't find the time.
Call up a forgotten friend. Drop an old grudge, and replace it with some pleasant memories. Share a funny story with someone whose sprits are dragging. A good laugh can be very good medicine.
Vow not to make a promise you don't think you can keep. Pay a debt. Give a soft answer. Free yourself of envy and malice. Encourage some youth to do his or her best. Share your experience, and offer support. Young people need role models.
Make a genuine effort to stay in closer touch with family and good friends. Resolve to stop magnifying small problems and shooting from the hip. Words that you have to eat can be hard to digest.
Find the time to be kind and thoughtful. All of us have the same allotment:24 hours a day. Give a compliment. It might give someone a badly needed lift.
Think things through. Forgive an injustice. Listen more. Be kind.
Apologize when you realize you are wrong. An apology never diminishes a person. It elevates him. Don't blow your own horn. If you've done something praiseworthy, someone will notice eventually.
Try to understand a point of view that is different from your own. Few things are 100 percent one way or another. Examine the demands you make on others.
Lighten up. When you feel like blowing your top, ask yourself, "Will it matter in a week from today?". Laugh the loudest when the joke is on you.
The sure way to have a friend is to be one. We are all connected by our humanity, and we need each other. Avoid malcontents and pessimists. They drag you down and contribute nothing.
Don't discourage a beginner from trying something risky. Nothing ventured means nothing gained. Be optimistic. The can-do spirit is the fuel that makes things go.
Read something uplifting. Deep-six the trash. You won't eat garbage – why put it in your head? Don't abandon your old-fashioned principles. They never go out of style. When courage is needed, ask yourself, "If not me, who? If not now, when?"
Look at the person you have blamed for your unhappiness, and ask yourself was the criticism legitimate? Did I do anything to help them or did I just decide I am better than he or she and walk away?
Walk tall, and smile more. You'll look 10 years younger. Don't be afraid to say, "I love you". Say it again. They are the sweetest words in the world.
-- Ann Landers
Today is Monday, January 8th, 2007; Karen's Korner #971|
In August, there is a small group from our church who are traveling to Poland to be short-term missionaries for 11 days. A young man from our church is a missionary there. In his ten years in Poland, John met and married a Polish girl. They now have two young sons.
Our congregation supports their work; now it is our opportunity to do more than send them our prayers and our dollars.
We have been told by another missionary couple that there is a "must read book" for those of us traveling next summer. It is titled "The Great Omission" by Steve Saint. I know nothing about the book or the author except to know that his father was martyred in Ecuador in 1956.
One of the quotes from Saint's book: "The Great Commission is not a spectator sport. No Believer should be sitting in the stands and watching."
I ordered the book. Each of us on our team are planning to read it.
Are we "Believers"? "Spectators"? Or are we in the "Trenches"?
Today is Tuesday, January 9th, 2007; Karen's Korner #972|
|Today's Karen's Korner is from Joel and Victoria Osteen. Joel is the popular minister from Houston, Texas who preaches and writes a lot about positive thoughts directing our lives. They have a web site (don't they all!) where you can subscribe to a daily email devotional with some of their positive daily thinking. Here is one of their daily thoughts. The web site is www.joelosteen.com
Slow Down and Enjoy the Journey
"This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. " -- Psalms 118:24
Everyone wants to live joyful and victorious lives. That's what God wants for you, too, and He knows the best way to get you there. But He also wants you to enjoy the trip! Here are two things to remember today that wil help you slow down and enjoy this day God has given to you. First, God is in control! He is directing your steps according to His plan. Second, God has your best interest in mind at all times. That means His plan for you is good, one that is designed to help you be the person He created you to be. So relax and enjoy the journey! Let God take you where He wants you to be in His timing, not yours. Remember, God is never late!
"God, thank You that You have my best in mind. Give me patience as I wait upon Your timing and make the journey one step at a time. In Jesus' name. Amen."
Today is Wednesday, January 10th, 2007; Karen's Korner #973|
Several second-hand quotes (people relating to me something someone else has said):
** Jodie Harker heard a speaker say: "Get ready for the garbage truck of life to come by your home or life. It will dump garbage on you (notice it says 'will'; not maybe or sometimes!). What you do with it is up to you! With God's help, you can turn the refuse into compost!"
** My sister Jan said about their church sermon a week ago by Denny Ganz: "When you come to worship services, it is a 'ME' experence or a 'THEE' experience. The 'ME"'experience concerns itself with players and their performance (or, or, or the service is too long, it is too hot, the music isn't that good!). The 'THEE'experience is a one-on-one worship between that person and God." Two people could be sitting in the same worship service and having two very different things going on. Which one best describes your worship (or lack of it) on Sunday?
Today is Thursday, January 11th, 2007; Karen's Korner #974|
Nancy Anderson is the severely handicapped daughter of Doris and the late-Ken Anderson, who lived much of their adult lives in Clarion.
At the age of four, Nancy had a case of measles that didn't break out, leaving her unable to walk and talk. Doris said doctors believed Nancy wouldn't live past 18 or 21 years old; she is now 59, and in the past few years has realized a dream: going to college. Her classes have included literature and writing. She doesn't take the courses for a grade, but to enjoy learning what she can and participating as much as possible.
Before you speed passed this Karen's Korner, one written by Nancy for a college assignment (December 13, 2006) I want you to consider that it takes Nancy about one minute to type each word by pressing her cheek against an apparatus connected to a computer keyboard to be able to put her thoughts on to paper!
By Nancy Anderson:
I am writing this from the hospital. I hope you all are okay and never have to go to the hospital because it is not very fun. As I lay here, I am reminded how fragile my life is. We are all just a car accident, a virus, a moment away from death. What then, is the purpose of life?
Some people say this is all there is--I mean life here on earth as we know it. If so, then eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow I die! Or, I could just complain about how life was not fair to me. (Remember my wheelchair?) But these are not my beliefs, and that is not my attitude. I believe there is a heaven. That is my hope.
What if I am wrong? What if there is no heaven? Where do you go when you die? Answer: nowhere. You rot in the ground. It is done, it is over. So this is all there is. Work hard, make money, do good to others, have fun, play, relax. What you see is what you get. Then you die. It reminds of what a wise king once wrote: "Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless." Congratulations, you just spent your life chasing the wind.
I prefer a different message. I believe there is something more to come, a place called heaven. I hear about it in songs. I read about it in books. I see it on television. My pastor talks about it in church. Jesus was born on Christmas for us, he died to save us from our sins, he rose from the dead on Easter morning, he ascended into heaven, and he sits at the right hand of God. If there is no heaven, where did Jesus go? And why did he die? He died for a reason: me.
Most importantly, I read about heaven in my Bible. Jesus promised that there are many rooms in heaven, and that he is preparing a place for me. I have this hope, So I say, "Meaningful, meaningful, everything is meaningful." My whole life has meaning, value, and purpose.
I often can not show my faith like others do. I can not get to church by myself and need help with almost everything. However, I show my love in different ways--by praying, by being a good friend to others, by listening, by showing kindness through my smile, by writing words of encouragement for others, by not complaining, working faithfully, and by being an exampe to others.
I will be very happy when this life is over and I get to go to heaven. The Bible tells me that in heaven there will be no more pain, and all my tears will be wiped away. It says it will be a very beautiful place, with a street paved with gold. I wonder if that street will have ramps for my wheelchair? Or maybe I will not need a wheelchair in heaven. Will I be able to walk and talk? I hope so. Jesus can do that. Some men brought their handicapped friend to Jesus, and Jesus made him walk. He also forgave his sins, and he forgives mine, so I can be happy right now, too. Whether I can walk or not, my true joy will be to be with Jesus in heaven.
Today is Friday, January 12th, 2007; Karen's Korner #975|
A pass-along email from Kim Lee:
This is one of the best explanations of why God allows pain and suffering that I have seen. It's an explanation all people will understand. A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects.
When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: "I don't believe that God exists." "Why do you say that?" asked the customer. "Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things." The customer thought for a moment, but didn’t respond because he didn't want to start an argument.
The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop. Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt. The customer turned back and entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber: "You know what? Barbers do not exist." "How can you say that?" asked the surprised barber. "I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!" "No!" the customer exclaimed. "Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside." "Ah, but barbers DO exist! What happens is, people do not come to me." "Exactly!" affirmed the customer. "That's the point! God, too, DOES exist! What happens, is, people don't go to Him and do not look for Him! That's why there's so much pain and suffering in the world."
Today is Monday, January 15th, 2007; Karen's Korner #976|
A writing by Shirley Choat:
.... let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1
The headmaster at the preparatory school in Great Britain announced that Sir Winston Churchill was coming to address the student body. He had attended there when he was a young man. The day Churchill was to be there the headmaster told the students that this man was one of greatest orators of all times, so they were to listen carefully and take plenty of notes.
The morning came and Sir Winston graciously acknowledged his introduction and then said, "Young gentlemen, never give up, Never give up. NEVER GIVE UP! NEVER, NEVER, NEVER. and at that he sat down. The students never forgot the sound advice they heard that day.
Are you discouraged, are you faltering in some struggle? Have mounting pressures, persistent temptations, and heavy burdens weakened your resolve to follow Christ? Consider the example of Jesus, "who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame."
Looking to Him, run with patience the race before you and never, never give up.
O for a faith that will not shrink
Though pressed by many a foe,
That will not tremble on the brink
Of any earthly woe.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: It's always too soon to quit.
Today is Tuesday, January 16th, 2007; Karen's Korner #977|
My friend Chris Lousias likes to take a chapter or verse from the Bible and turn it back into a prayer to God. She has done this with I King chapter 8:
A prayer of dedication – taken in part from 1 Kings 8
Oh Lord, we are Your people; there is no God like You in Heaven above or on earth below – You who keep Your covenant of love with Your servants who continue wholeheartedly in Your way.
Help us today Holy Spirit, to find ourselves in You. We are sinners because of our relationship with Your son Adam. We plea for Your mercy Oh God and You hear us. We are saved because of Your Son and our Savior Jesus Christ. We thank You that we have become free because of His obedience.
Sovereign God, You know the afflictions of each of our hearts. As we raise our hands in praise and worship to You today, we ask that You turn Your ear to hear our pleas. We set our garbage before You Lord because we can’t manage on our own trusts. We relinquish them to You.
As we go into Your Word everyday Lord, teach us the right way to live. A way in which is pleasing to You and a way in which all the glory goes to You, the One deserving. Teach us to fear You Heavenly King, because only then will we come to know You in a deeper, more passionate way.
We thank You Lord for keeping Your promise to us of Your Son Jesus Christ. Help us to have hearts fully committed to You. Help us to live by Your Word and obey Your commands. Let this supplication be pleasing to You Father, we pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen
Today is Wednesday, January 17th, 2007; Karen's Korner #978|
This is an email forwarded to me from a friend, telling what disease cannot do. Pick your disease, the one that is affecting you or a family member. A disease can't do any of the things listed here.....unless you let it. And God will help you not to let it:
What Disease Cannot Do
It cannot cripple love
It cannot shatter hope
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot destroy confidence
It cannot kill friendships
It cannot shut out memories
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot reduce eternal hope
It cannot quench the spirit
It cannot lessen the Power of the Resurrection
~ Author Unknown ~
Today is Thursday, January 18th, 2007; Karen's Korner #979|
Our two-year-old grandson, Luke, was being babysat by grandpa a couple of months ago. Luke was using a red marker on some newspaper print, but grandpa fell asleep. When Grandpa woke up and I arrived home, Luke had red marker on the newspapers, on himself, on his clothes, on our coffee table, on the couch, on some magazines, pillows, and books!
We got the red markings off the coffee table, couch, and the boy! The magazines and newspapers we tossed. The books and the pillows we took to the thrift store. Luke's clothes moved from sort-of -good, to play clothes.
Luke's mom says he doesn't like to wear his gray tennis shoes now because "they have red all over them"!
I wonder if we are sort of like Luke: we do some things we would just as soon not do, or we have some addiction that raises its ugly head. What about the new year's resolution that is now on the garbage heap of good intentions. We are now stuck wearing tennis shoes we don't like because we have "red marks all over them".
This isn't new news to Luke and to us today, Paul talks about it in Romans, chapter 7: (in part)...."I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong.....but I can't help myself.....when I want to do good, I don't; and when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway.....it seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong......Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free!"
Dear God, thank You that You have changed my old nature to Your new nature. Thank You that I don't have to count on just me, but I can count on You and Your Son Jesus. Thank You that You remove stains from the "scribbled on" tennis shoes of my life. And best of all, thank You, that You have given me new shoes to wear....those bought and paid for by Your Son Jesus. Amen.
Today is Friday, January 19th, 2007; Karen's Korner #980|
When Jesus began his public ministry, his days were busy! Moving from person to person; from group to group! Two times the Bible records Jesus' feeding of large groups of people. Most of us have heard about his feeding of 5,000 using a little boys' lunch of loaves and fish.
Another time he fed 4,000, Matthew 15:32 - 38:
"Then Jesus calles his disciples to him and said, 'I pity these people---they've been here with me for three days now, and have nothing left to eat; I don't want to send them away hungry or they will faint along the road.'
The disciples replied, 'And where would we get enough here in the desert for all this mob to eat?'
Jesus asked them, 'How much food do you have?' And they replied, 'Seven loaves of bread and a few small fish!'
Then Jesus told all of the people to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves and the fish, and gave thanks to God for them, and divided them into pieces, and gave them to the disciples who presented them to the crowd. And everyone ate until full---4,000 men besides the women and children! And afterwards, when the scraps were picked up, there were seven basketfuls left over!"
Bible commentary on these verses: "Jesus had already fed more than 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish. Now, in a smiliar situation, the disciples were again perplexed. How easily we throw up our hands in despair when faced with tough situations. Like the disciples, we often forget that if God has cared for us in the past, he will do the same now. If you facing a difficult situation, remember when God cared for you and trust him to work faithfully again."
Today is Monday, January 22nd, 2007; Karen's Korner #981|
I like it when friends write and share what they have written. This is something penned by Sue Freund. More perfect now that we have a blanket of snow on the ground:
It is mid morning. I need a break from my routine. I sip on lukewarm coffee, as my cat takes one of her countless naps at the windowsill. The silence is almost deafening, yet so bright and cheerful.
As I am looking out my window at the new fallen snow, the sunshine warms me through. Ice crystals shimmer and twinkle playing music only I can hear, my own private orchestra. The last of the snowflakes are floating down dancing and twirling like ballerinas. The tiny dancers settle on the evergreens with their uplifted branches applauding the performance.
The warming shine of the sun makes me feel the need to be outside. Years have taught me that cool, crisp, snappy, squeaky snow can deceive. Reluctantly staying inside, melancholy fills my heart and I begin to daydream.
Out of nowhere I see a child catching falling snowflakes on her tongue. I sense the feeling of damp mittens, cold toes, and rosy cheeks. I am bundled like a swaddled babe so bunglesome I can hardly move. Yet so joyful I can hardly notice.
Shaking snow from the evergreen boughs I jump from one new pile of snow to another. I land on the snow and roll over on my back and with a born instinct, begin the age-old practice of making snow angels.
Suddenly a dog comes from nowhere. He is barking, jumping and rolling next to me. He kisses my face. You understand doggie kisses? I laugh and get up twisting, twirling and giggling like only a girl can do.
Awakened from her nap my cat jumps to my lap. As my dream ends I find myself longing for those carefree days. Find time to dream simple thoughts filled with simple joys that abound.
Today is Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007; Karen's Korner #982|
Something emailed to me awhile ago by Shirley Southard; titled "Spilled Apples":
<_x003b__x0040_socket.net>A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night's dinner. In their rush through the terminal, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding.
ALL BUT ONE !!! He paused, took a deep breath, got in touch with his feelings, and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned.
He told his buddies to go on without him, waved good-bye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor. He was glad he did.
The 16 year old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one stopping and no one to care for her plight.
The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket.
When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, "Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay?'
<_x003b__x0040_socket.net>She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, "I hope we didn't spoil your day too badly."
As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, "Mister...." He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued, "Are you Jesus?"
He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered. Then slowly he made his,way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul:
"Are you Jesus?" Do people mistake you for Jesus? That's our destiny, is it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, life and grace. If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would.
Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture and going to church. It's actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day.
You are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been bruised by a fall. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit.
Today is Wednesday, January 24th, 2007; Karen's Korner #983|
Karen's Korner today is Psalms 46 with a Bible commentary on the chapter. It talks about "the world blowing up". If we listen to the news, we know that is always a threat. Even if that never happens, sometimes "our world blows up"........a job loss, financial problems, a spouse leaves, a new diagnosis of an illness or disease, an untimely death:
"God is our refuge and strength, a tested help in times of trouble. And so we need not fear even if the world blows up, and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam; let the mountains tremble!
There is a river of joy flowing through the City of our God---the sacred home of the God above all gods. God himself is living in that City, therefore it stands unmoved despite the turmoil everywhere. He will not delay his help. The nations rant and rave in anger---but when God speaks, the earth melts in submission and kingdoms totter into ruin.
The Commander of the armies of heaven is here among us. He, the God of Jacob, has come to rescue us.
Come, see the glorious things that our God does, how he brings ruin upon the world, and causes wars to end throughout the earth, breaking and burning every weapon. Stand silent! Know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation in the world!
The Commander of the heavenly armies is here among us! He, the God of Jacob, has come to rescue us!"
Commentary: The fear of mountains or cities suddenly crumbling into the sea by a nuclear blast haunts many people today. But the psalmist says that even if the world ends. "We need not fear!" Even in the face of utter destruction, he expressed a quiet confidence in God's ability to save him. It seems impossible to face the end of the world without fear, but the Bible is clear---God is our refuge even in the face of total destruction He is not merely a temporary retreat: he is our eternal refuge and can provide strength even in the face of global destruction.
Many great cities have rivers flowing through them, sustaining people's lives and becoming the center of trade. Jerusalem had no river, but it had God who, like a river, sustained the people's lives and was the center of their attention. As long as God lived among the people, the city was invincible. But when the people abandoned him, God left them, and Jerusalem fell to the Babylonian army.
War and destruction are inevitable, but so is God's final victory. At that time, all will stand silent before Almighty God. How proper, then, for us to stand silent now in reverent quiet to honor him and his power and majesty. Take time each day to be silent and to exalt God.
Today is Thursday, January 25th, 2007; Karen's Korner #984|
A great thought shared via email from Kim Lee:
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.
Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee. When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.
Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups... And then you began eyeing each other's cups.
Now consider this:
Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of Life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us."
God brews the coffee, not the cups.......... Enjoy your coffee!
"The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything."
Leave the rest to God.
Today is Friday, January 26th, 2007; Karen's Korner #985|
Yesterday morning I was getting ready to mail a birthday card to our daughter. We get lots of return address stickers from promotional organizations and companies, as all of you do. Sometimes we also get stickers with flowers, butterflies, or sayings on them, too. So I looked for one such sticker.
What I found instead was a sheet of stickers from the USO, an organization which provides entertainment, encouragement, and help for our service people. Each sticker on the sheet has an American flag and the words "United We Stand" written over the top of each flag.
As I peeled one of the stickers off the sheet, I thought about being 'united' and able to stand. Not just as a country, together on any topic, or against any enemy. But as a group, organization, church, or family - 'united' we can stand against or for anything.
But rearrange the letters just a bit in "united", and what do we have? "Untied"! If we aren't united, we are untied! Families which aren't united are untied; church families that pull apart are untied; communities, organizations, and nations can all be untied.
And like our tennis shoes when we attempt to run a race, if the laces are untied--we can be pretty sure that we will trip and fall!
If we are going to run the race of life, we have to do whatever we can to make sure are shoelaces are united, and not untied!
Jesus said in Matthew 12:25: "A divided kingdom ends in ruin. A city or house divided against itself cannot stand.:"
Today is Monday, January 29th, 2007; Karen's Korner #986|
Sharon Frank and I were roommates for a few years before both of us were married. Her husband's cousin's son, Steven Frank from Farmington Hills, Michigan was killed while serving in Iraq in April 2005. When Sharon and Roger would talk about Steven, I knew that I wanted to let them tell more about him and his shortened life.
"I think about how his parents raised him and his sisters," said Sharon. "While visiting their house after his death, I was really touched by the Family Mission Statement in their office. Apparently they had done this when the children were young."
Here is the family mission statement and some of their goals:
* to develop relationships with God and each other in an atmosphere of love, encouragement, cooperation and security;
* to develop responsible individuals, proactive not reactive, with healthy images, faith in God, and strong Judeo-Christian values;
* to develop well-balanced healthy individuals, able to fully function spiritually, physically, mentally socially and emotionally;
* to help each person find their destiny and develop their unique talents and abilities through on-going education and training.
Sharon said, "He was a remarkably strong Christian man who knew the Lord. He was a wonderful husband, father, brother and son. At times it seems that God takes the best. At his funeral his Mother said that Steven's words were, 'Everybody wants to be that soldier that saves somebody else's life. I want to be the soldier that saves another person's soul.' Steven Frank served God and Country. He loved the Army. He loved his soldiers---every one of them. But, he loved God first. He understood the higher call, the eternal purpose of The Almighty. I believe that many young people find their way to Christ when in war and he was there to give them the 'message'."
Sharon continued, "Steven was training to become the leader of his group. He and his trainer opened the trunk of a car and was struck by a bomb killing them both. When Steven died, he perhaps took the place of one who had not yet become a believer in Christ. He left a wife and two-year--old boy who looks just like his Dad when he was just a child."
From Sharon, the following is a true story of a woman whose two children died of cholera when their father was away. She laid then gently on a bed until the father returned that evening. This woman met her husband at the door with a question. "Someone has lent me their jewels and now they want them back. What should I do?" The husband replied, "Well, return them, of course." She then led him to the bedroom where his daughters lay and explained that they were the jewels and the owner, God, had asked for them back.
"Steven Frank was a jewel, on loan to us for a short time," Sharon said. "Death is not victorious - God simply took back his jewel. We thank God for our servicemen and women who have given their lives so we can live in a free country."
It is important that we don't forget young people like Steven Frank. His story is one that needed to be shared.
Today is Tuesday, January 30th, 2007; Karen's Korner #987|
Yesterday was Pearl Simpson's funeral here in Clarion; 83 years old. Probably not in the best of health the past few years, but still living in her own home. Pearl celebrated her birthday on Saturday with friends and then got sick a couple of days later; went to the hospital for several days before she died.
Pearl became a 'senior saint'; she took her Christian faith seriously. Rarely missed church and served wherever and whenever she could, both the organized stuff and the 'see-it-and-do-it' things.
This is a writing by Jeff White which I thought fit Pearl; hers was the celebratory kind:
Rejoice that your
names are written in heaven.
Luke 10:20 niv
There are two types of funerals, celebratory or sad. The choice of style does not belong to the funeral director or the minister. The choice is not even the families. The choice of style of funeral belongs to the deceased. No, I’m not talking about choices made at preplanning meetings with the funeral home, I’m talking about choices made in how you lived your life.
Choose Christ and you’ve chosen a celebratory funeral. You’ve chosen a farewell full of hope and a future. Choose the world and you’ve chosen a sad funeral devoid of hope.
I can’t lay claim to being the originator of this saying but I now use it fairly often, “There ain’t no party like a Holy Ghost party”. Plan your funeral now and plan for a Home Going Party, not a good-bye.
Today is Wednesday, January 31st, 2007; Karen's Korner #988|
Our church had its annual meeting last Sunday. Among other things, our Pastor Tim Platt listed some information which he had received at a national missionary convention some time last fall.
The listing was "Nine Challenges Facing Churches Today":
* generational differences
* hostility toward Christianity
* trend toward postmodernism
* short attention spans
* sophisticated technology
* time pressure
* trends toward email and cheap travel
* job instability
* trends in churches - congregations which are dying, last year 3500 closed and 1100 opened
But here was the most telling statistic, I thought: "No county in the United States had church growth from conversions last year."
Are we truly in the business as Christians of saving lives for the coming kingdom of heaven, or we simply moving the life boats from one side of the ship to the other?