Karen's Korner - Daily Inspirational Stories by Karen Weld
Browse my Site
Home
Archives
Karen's Guestbook
Search my Site



Karen's Links
Luke (Grandson)
Molly Granddaughter
Noah (Grandson)
Homeless meal ticket

Email


to Karens Korner

rss RSS Feed
Subscribing to Karens Korner will give you a new issue in your Email box almost every day
Powered by Mandriva

Powered by Apache

Powered by MySQL

Powered by PHP

I'm Karen

July 2007 Archives

Printable Issue 1096  Today is Monday, July 2nd, 2007; Karen's Korner #1096
Below is a forwarded email from a gal who was a grade behind me in school while we attended in Fertile; her name was Betty Elthon. She told me at the Fertile 150th celebration, she hadn't been called Betty for years. So from "from a schoolmate formerly know as Betty"; it is a good one!
 
Why did Jesus fold the linen burial cloth after His resurrection?
 
The Gospel of John 20:6 7 (Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.. NIV) tells us that the napkin, which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes.The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded, and was placed at the head of that stony coffin.  Is that important? You'd better believe it!     
 
In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day.  The folded napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition.  When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it. The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not dare touch that table, until the master was finished. If the master was done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his finger, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table.  The servant would then know to clear the table.  For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, "I'm done". 
 
But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because the servant knew that the folded napkin meant, "I'm not finished yet."
 
The folded napkin meant, "I'm coming back!" 
 
Hallelujah!!!
Printable Issue 1097  Today is Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007; Karen's Korner #1097
Last week our extended family received some unwanted news about a family member; this time not health issues, but potentially devastating just as well! And this is the Joel and Victoria Osteen daily devotional email which arrived the next morning. Seemed like it spoke volumes to me and I shared it with this family member:
 
Wise Words from a Prophet

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior” Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NIV).

"The prophet Habakkuk knew what to do when things seemed completely hopeless. His world was literally falling apart. In fact, the situation was so bad it seemed trouble was bursting through the seams of his life. So what did Habakkuk do? He rejoiced and praised the Lord in spite of everything! That may seem contrary to you and even silly. But you have probably lost something or someone who is very dear to you, so you can know how Habakkuk was feeling. But follow the prophet's example. When something bad happens to you, thank God - not because you're suffering, but because you know He is still faithful and loving. God wants to bless you, and He can lift your head above any problem!"

"God, I need Your strength to stand up in the midst of troubled times and say, 'Thank you, Lord'; despite what is happening around me. Help me to learn this lesson from Your prophet Habakkuk and apply it to my life today and every day. In Jesus' Name. Amen."

Printable Issue 1098  Today is Wednesday, July 4th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1098
Happy 4th of July; Independence Day; so I have selected a couple of Bible verses about 'freedom':
 

Psalm 119:44-46 (NIV)

 44 I will always obey your law,
       for ever and ever.

 45 I will walk about in freedom,
       for I have sought out your precepts.

 46 I will speak of your statutes before kings
       and will not be put to shame.

****

Luke 4:17-19 (NIV)

17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him (Jesus).
Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 "The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
      because he has anointed me
      to preach good news to the poor.
   He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
      and recovery of sight for the blind,
   to release the oppressed,
    19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.

****

John 8:32 (LB)

"You shall know the Truth; and the Truth will set you free."

Bible Commentary on this verse:

"Jesus himself is the truth that sets us free. He is the source of truth, the perfect standard of what is right. He frees us from the consequences of sin, from self-deception, and from deception by Satan. He shows us clearly the way to eternal life with God. Thus Jesus does not give us freedom to do what we want, but freedom to follow God. As we seek to live for God, Jesus' perfect truth frees us to be all that God meant us to be."

****

Printable Issue 1099  Today is Thursday, July 5th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1099
Another Independence Day thought; forwarded to me from Shirley Choat:
 
IN GOD WE TRUST
 
       "Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Psalm 121:27
 
   It was the summer of 1776, and delegates had come from 13 colonies to make a momentous decision. Conditions were troubled in the New World and something had to be done. Apparently there was no good choice. Faces were gloomy in the old statehouse in Philadelphia. One suggestion after another was offered and discarded.
   
    Finally, in the midst of their dissension and debate as to whether a new nation should be created or not. The men turned to Benjamin Franklin, the oldest and most renowned of the delegates, and requested his opinion. Franklin hesitated, then rose to his feet and delivered a brief message centered around Psalm 127 that became the spiritual foundation stone of America and resulted in the Declaration of Independence.           
    
    Although few today have ever heard of these words, they were jewels of truth and wisdom. Said he, "I have lived a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth that  God governs the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His will, is it possible for an empire to rise without His notice? We have been assured in the sacred writing that except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel." He then suggested that they have a season of prayer. His advice was followed. Chaos soon resolved into unity and the United States of America was born July 4, 1776
 
   Our forefathers laid the foundation of this nation not only on Plymouth Rock, but also on the much surer rock of prayer and the Word of God! This is our heritage; but in many ways we have drifted far from our spiritual moorings. America must acknowledge anew her dependence upon God if she wishes to continue to proclaim her independence from slavery!
 
    For "where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty".  (2 Corinthians 3:17).
 
 "Faith in our God is indispensable to successful statesmanship." 
~~ Abraham Lincoln
 
***
Printable Issue 1100  Today is Friday, July 6th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1100
Always fun to celebrate these milestones --- 1100!! Wow!! Thanks for sticking with me over the past four years plus, beginning in March of 2003! Thanks to those of you have written and/or contributed items! Thanks for the memories, for learning and leaning on God and His faithfulness to each of us as 'His Children'.
 
If you ever want to look back at a past Karen's Korner or search for one by a certain subject, you can do it be going to the web site: www.karens-korner.com .
 
 
Today's Korner:
 
A couple of weeks ago, for two weeks Jim and I were the dog sitter for Muga, as our friend Chris went on a short-term mission trip to Alaska. Before she left, Chris warned that Muga liked to dig. As in any relationship, it took us a bit to learn about our habits and Muga's.
 
She did dig in the dirt around the dog house which was fine. But when she would be loose from her chain and we would happen to be in the house, we learned that she loved to dig in my flower bed as well! It only happened one time. We learned what not to do!!
 
I found one petunia uprooted; no problem I replaced it with a spare mum. Another petunia was hanging on by one hair-like root----one! I decided to rebury the exposed roots, give the plant an extra shot of Miracle Gro, and a drink of water. It took a couple of days but the flower began to rejuvenate and revive. One tiny, tiny root!
 
It made me think about God and our relationship to Him. Sometimes we are well rooted in Him and are growing and flowering! But other times, life uproots us or we wander our own ways. If we are connected by as small as one tiny, hair-like root, we can regrow!
 
We need to ask God to rebury our root systems one more time. Take an extra drink of His Love. Fertilize our lives with His life-sustaining Words. Turn toward the 'Son' so we can once again grow in His Mercy and Grace. It's all part of God's plan for each one of us!!
 
Dear Father in Heaven, thank you that you are the Master Gardener. you willingly help us to grow, mature, and flower and become all you intend us to be; not because of who we are nor what we do but because of your care and feeding of us. Thank you that if we are connected to you with something is small as one tiny hair root, we can grow and regrow in you. Help us; bless us today. In the name of your Son Jesus who showed us the way. Amen. 
Printable Issue 1101  Today is Monday, July 9th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1101
This is an email which I received from Tiffany Cramer on Independence Day. Tiffany graduated last spring and is currently studying/doing missionary-type work in Minneapolis. Her writing and thinking is beyond her young years.
 
Read her list; you can make up your own:

This Independence Day I am reminded and thankful for the many freedoms we have here in America.
I am free to worship God in the way I chose, I have done so several times today.
I am free to be alone and to be with others, I did both within the last half hour.
I am free to eat good food that I enjoy, I do this most days.
I am free to tell others about the wonderful things God is doing in my life, I do often.
I am free to forgive others as Christ forgave me.
I am free to be around the ones I choose, no one told me who to eat my supper with tonight.
I am free to read my Bible in my own language, I have spend about two hours with Bible open today alone.
I am free to fellowship with other believers without fear of being arrested or persecuted.
I am free to work at a job that I chose.
I am free to go to a Church that is out of the norm, I did on Sunday.
I am free to choose where I live and when I move.
I am free to study what I choose, where I choose.
I am free to stand up for what I believe in, whether the government agrees with me.
I am free to travel, I did last weekend, but do many small trips each week.
Living here I have realized how many freedoms we have that we enjoy each day.  Through the many events that happened to me this last six months, I know there are many freedoms that come not only from our government but also from our Lord. 
 
I am daily learning the truth of the John 8:36:  "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."  He gives true freedom to us, nothing the government can offer can equal that.
Printable Issue 1102  Today is Tuesday, July 10th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1102
Took quite a few pictures when we went to Costa Rica in early February this year. Got reprints of some of the better ones. Usually we have a bank reunion of people who went on the trip with us. Wanted to have some to share with others. Decided to have the best photo enlarged to enter at our county fair this year.
 
Several weeks after returning home, the reunion was held. We couldn't go as we had a schedule conflict. By that time, I couldn't find the photos either. Where could they be? I looked a lot of places. No photos.
 
I started to pray for our vacation pics, "God, you will have to help me find them!" I can recall rattling on more than one occasion. And I tossed in that I would need to find them by the time our county fair rolled around.
 
While I know that God answers all of our prayers, I also know that even He can't rescue what could have wound up in our burn pile or in the recycle pile.
 
Then yesterday came. We had an appointment with our insurance rep and I had to dig out filed bills from last year to get some much needed information. And there the sack of photos and few souvenirs were!!
 
Judging of the photos for our county fair? Entry is on Wednesday (tomorrow)!!
 
Made me laugh and be reminded one more time how God does things. We hear often that God is generally not late nor early, but always on time with the answers to our prayers!!
 
One more time I am a winner; whether my picture rates or not. Fun to know just how much God cares for and takes care of us. Better than we can take care of ourselves.......
 
Psalms 40:1 - 5  (portions): "I waited patiently for God to help me; then He listened and heard my cry.....He has given me a new song to sing, of praises to our God. Now many will hear of the glorious things He did for me, and stand in awe before the Lord, and put their trust in Him....O Lord my God, many and many a time you have done great miracles for us and we are ever in your thoughts. Who else can do such glorious things?"
Printable Issue 1103  Today is Wednesday, July 11th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1103
About a year ago, I ordered the book "Discover Paradise: A Guidebook to Heaven, Your True Home" by David Jeremiah. It is about the size of a greeting card with 124 pages. If you are looking for something 'heavy and meaty' this probably isn't it; it is more like a travel brochure guiding you to some exciting destination. It is a good one.
 
While it isn't lengthy, I loaned it to Donna Orte as she began her journey to heaven. It took her a couple of weeks to read it, not because it was a tough read but because 'she wanted to enjoy every word and spend some time thinking about what she was reading'. If you would like to read my book, let me know and I can lend it to you. Or if you would like your own copy, I'll bet you could find one. Try googling: David Jeremiah and see if you can be pointed in the right direction.
 
Here is a beginning exerpt:
 
Heaven Awaits You!
 
"Welcome to Paradise! It's the place you've been dreaming of. Discover why it's the ultimate destination. This is IT! Nowhere on earth can compare. It's not just a getaway--once you have experienced the out-of-this-world facilities, you will find out why those who choose Paradise call it their heart's true home. And it's all just waiting for you.
 
Among the attractions of our perfect community are:
 
* Gleaming new homes with a comprehensive everlasting warranty;
* Friends and family who are known for thier love, joy, and celebration;
* Management and staff who make sure your every need is fulfilled;
* Glory-bright days and highest quality of life;
* Life without night, sadness, sickness, or death;
* The chance to bask in the undiluted Presence of the love of God fovever.
 
You'll never need to carry a wallet or credit card; everything has already been paid for. All you have to do is make the choice to come. Your new dream home, best friends, cherished family, and dearest treasures will be waiting for you when you arrive. There's room here for everybody, so we hope you'll invite others to come along with you.
 
Paradise is Heaven. Make yourself at home! Reservations are unlimited, but time is running out so RSVP today!"
 
 
And an ending RSVP:
 
RSVP PRAYER
 
"Lord, help me not to gamble with eternity. Help me not to think that I can take care of this at a later time, when I have no guarantee that a later time will be granted. Help me, Lord, to know that if You've spoken in my heart today and I hear Your voice by the Holy Spirit, this is my defining moment. Come into my heart and cleanse me of all my sins. Create a new heart in me today as You will create a new home for me in Heaven. Live with me here on earth and help me follow You. I ask this in Jesus' name. Amen."
Printable Issue 1104  Today is Thursday, July 12th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1104
 
A couple of short thoughts to start your day:
 
** Trouble and grace to bear it come in the same package.
 
~
 
** Even if you are on the right track, you won't get anywhere if you just sit there.
 
~
 
** Everything you avoid or run away from has power over you,
but everything you press through, in Christ, you can conquer!
        ~ Joyce Meyer
 
~
 
From a daily devotional calendar for today:
 
"The peace of God, which surpasses all
understanding, will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus."
~ Philippians 4:7
 
"You have promised an all-encompassing peace, Lord.
May I take a moment and embrace the
quiet joy of being in your sunlight."
 
~~~
Printable Issue 1105  Today is Friday, July 13th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1105
Reading my email this morning, I had one from Kelly Langfitt. She wrote "I happened to find tonight www.helpothers.org . It's an awesome site and if you ever need something for a karens korner read
'few bills under a paper napkin'. Its really touching."
 
I had read it before, but I checked back. I don't find it as a previous Karen's Korner, so here it is......to you from Kelly:
 
"Few Bills Under A Paper Natpkin"
 

He almost didn't see the old lady, stranded on the side of the road, but even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help.  So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out.  His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her.

Even with the smile on his face, she was worried.  No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her?  He didn't look safe; he looked poor and hungry.

He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold.  He knew how she felt.  It was that chill which only fear can put in you. He said, "I'm here to help you, ma'am.  Why don't you wait in the car where it's warm?  By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson."

Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knucklesa time or two.  Soon he was able to change the tire.  But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt.

As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him.  She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through.  She couldn't thank him enough for coming to her aid.

Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk.  The lady asked how much she owed him.  Any amount would have been all right with her.  She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped.   Bryan never thought twice about being paid.  This was not a job to him.  This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty, who had given him a hand in the past.  He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way.

He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and Bryan added, "And think of me."

He waited until she started her car and drove off disappearing into the twilight.  It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home.

A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home.  It was a dingy looking restaurant.  Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her.  The waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair.  She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn't erase.  The lady noticed the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude.  The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger.  Then she remembered Bryan ..

After the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress quickly went to get change for her hundred dollar bill, but the old lady had slipped right out the door.  She was gone by the time the waitress came back.  The waitress wondered where the lady could be.  Then she noticed something written on the napkin.

There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote: "You don't owe me anything.  I have been there too.  Somebody once helped me out, the way I'm helping you.  If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do: Do not let this chain of love end with you."

Under the napkin were four more $100 bills.

Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day.  That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written.  How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it?  With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard.

She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, "Everything's going to be all right.  I love you, Bryan Anderson."

Printable Issue 1106  Today is Monday, July 16th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1106
Psalms 27:1-6 -- "The Lord is my light and my salvation; he protects me from danger--whom shall I fear? When evil men come to destroy me, they will stumble and fall. Yes, though a mighty army marches against me, my heart shall know no fear! I am confident that God will save me.
 
"The one thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all, is the prvilege of meditating in his Temple, living in his presence every day of my life, delighting in his incomparable perfections and glory. There I'll be when troubles come. He will hide me. He will set me on a high rock out of reach of all my enemies. Then I will bring him sacrifices and sing his praises with much joy."
 
Commentary:  "Fear is a dark shadow that envelops us and ultimately imprisons us within ourselves. Each of us has been a prisoner of fear at one time or another--fear of rejection, misunderstanding, uncertainty, sickness, or even death. But fear can be conquered by the bright liberating light of the Lord who brings salvation. If you want to dispel the darkness of fear in your life, remember with the psalmist that 'the Lord is my light and my salvation'."
Printable Issue 1107  Today is Tuesday, July 17th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1107
Sometimes:
 
** I trust God and enjoy His presence in my life;
    but sometimes I don't, I choose my own way!
 
** I enjoy doing the things that He would do if He were here;
    but sometimes I don't, I do what I want to do!
 
** I have the energy and want to do a lot of things;
    but sometimes I run out......
 
** I am loving and kind and have nothing but loving,.kind thoughts and deeds for myself and others;
    but sometimes, well, they aren't as good as they could or should be!
 
** the number of needs and wants for people come my direction faster than I like
    and I want to complain, become afraid, or give up!
 
***
 
All the time:
 
** God is there ready to help, aid, take care.....take charge!
 
** God is there loving me inspite of myself!
 
** God continues with His plan for my life!!
 
**
 
"Amazing grace! how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found.
Was blind, but now I see."
 
**
 
Dear God,
Thank you!
 
Love,
Karen
Printable Issue 1108  Today is Wednesday, July 18th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1108

A devotional writing by Chris Lousias who has a great love for her Creator and doesn't hesitate to share that love with others. She has a flair for writing and for teaching. I always enjoy it when readers pass along some thngs which they have written:

 

                    Fair Weather Fans

John 6:66: "From this time on His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him."

People are funny in a way.  As long as something is popular, as long as our team is winning, as long as there is a “feel good” atmosphere, we are all for it.  As soon as the tide turns or if we are asked to participate to a point where there will be sacrifice on our part, our loyalties start to drift.  Put it in the perspective of a war. If there is a perception of victory, people will support it. If there is a perception of failure, they will bail. It’s just the way it seems to flow.

In the Book of John, we see Jesus working signs and wonders.  People start noticing and the crowds get bigger and bigger.  It starts out with a simple water into wine gig at a wedding.  Then there’s that rebellious perception of Him clearing the Temple.  Can you imagine what the people were thinking?  “Wow, this Guy has audacity!  Wish I had the guts to do that.” You’ve got Samaritans flocking to Him, you have healings right and left, and then there’s this little incident with some fish and bread.  This Guy is UNBELIEVABLE.  The crowds get huge and almost uncontrollable. They want to be around this guy, they are hanging on to His every Word. Then Jesus does the public relations faux pas: He starts to speak the Truth. He starts to tell the crowds the skinny on who He is and what they need to do to have eternal life. The crowd starts hemming and hawing, ummm, well, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" (John 6:28)

Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." (John 6:29) John 6:66, "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed Him." And so, very quickly the ministry went from majority to minority status.

How many times when things are going well for us do we feel we are on top of the world and God is great and the sky is perpetually blue and isn’t life just grand?  How different is it when life gets down and dirty and we grumble and maybe even blame God for our circumstances?  We ask ourselves “if God is so good, why is He allowing us to go through yet another hardship?” During these down times, do you bail or are you like Peter when Jesus asked him (John 6:67): "You do not want to leave too, do you?" and Peter said (John 6:68-69): "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."

How’s your faith meter?  Do you only want Jesus Christ for the benefits He is able to give – for His signs and wonders - Check your faith.  Go to the Word.  It is through the teaching of the Word of God that we “see” God and receive the faith to come to Christ and trust Him.  You will see a pattern in the Word of God that pertains to life today.  You will see that Jesus, the Father and Holy Spirit are fans of ours even in the most mired down times in our lives.

He never turns us away and never says, "I've had enough of you."  We will never be condemned, disvalued or demeaned by Him. He loves us when we are bad and when we are good, and when we sing songs of praise. He loves us, forgives us, accepts us and walks with us when nobody else will.  God isn’t wishy-washy when it comes to His love for us; should we treat Him in any way less than that especially when the end result is Eternal Life?  Don’t blame Him, Don’t deny Him…Trust in Him.

Merciful and Gracious God, Your love for us is unfailing.  Your love for us is never hidden.  Holy Spirit, we ask for the Life that only You can give so that we may perpetuate the growth of Your Kingdom.  We ask for increased faith so that we too may believe and know that Jesus is without a doubt, the Holy One of God.  We want to be unwavering believers with nowhere else to go but to the foot of Your Throne.  We pray this in the blessed and almighty name of the Living Bread that came down from Heaven, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Printable Issue 1109  Today is Thursday, July 19th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1109
An email forward from Joanne Schleck, which I think you will enjoy.......especially if you are a grandparent!
 
A New Position With a Great Company
By Edward Fays
 
Excerpted with permission from "A Grandparent's Gift of Love," published by Warner Books.

Jake was in the second grade when his parents told him his grandpa would be retiring after working
at the same company for forty years. With a look of amazement on his face, Jake said, "I'm only seven, so that means Grandpa has been there . . ." He thought for a second and finally exclaimed, "A really long time!"

His parents chuckled and said, "Yes, Grandpa has worked there a long time, and that's why we are throwing him a surprise party."
 
Jake loved his grandpa very much and wanted to do something special for the occasion. He offered to help with the party plans but was told that all the arrangements had been made. Undaunted, Jake knew there must be some way he could show his grandpa how much he was appreciated and congratulate him on his retirement.
 
Jake remembered the business card his grandpa had given him a couple of years earlier. It was wedged within the mirror's wooden frame in his bedroom, between a two-dollar bill and a picture of him and his dad on the Ferris wheel at the church carnival. He scrambled up the stairs and into his room. Taking the tattered card in his hand, he realized that his grandpa would no longer have that position. Positions are good, he thought, so he decided to create a new one for his grandpa. Jake told his parents about the idea, and they said it was wonderful.
 
When the big day came, Jake was ready.
 
A collection of different-size boxes, all beautifully wrapped, were placed on a gift table—that is, all except for Jake's. He didn't want to include his gift with the others, so he carried it around with him the entire evening.
He watched his grandpa open the other gifts, "oohing" and "aahing" at each one. He wanted his gift to be the last one Grandpa opened, so as the evening drew to a close, he took his grandpa's hand and ushered him over to a chair in the corner, away from the crowd.
 
"I've got something for you, Grandpa," Jake stated with pride, offering up the gift.
 
With that, his grandpa propped Jake up on his left knee and declared, "Well, this sure is a beautifully wrapped present. Did you do this all by yourself?"
 
"Kind of," Jake replied, shrugging his shoulders. "Mom helped me a little." Grandpa smiled. "Well, it looks wonderful. May I open it now?"
 
Jake enthusiastically nodded his head.
 
As Grandpa unwrapped the package, his cheeks grew moist with tears. Jake had given him the greatest gift he could have ever asked for: official business cards with his new title:
FULL-TIME GRANDPA.
 
There were no phone or fax numbers because now his time was his own. There was no business address because his new position didn't require one. Jake gazed lovingly into his grandpa's eyes and said, "Congratulations on your retirement. Now your full-time job is just being my grandpa!"
 
Holding one of the cards between his right thumb and index finger and wiping his tears with the back of his hand, Grandpa asked jokingly, "Well, how much do I get paid?"
With his bright blue eyes expressing total devotion, Jake responded, "As many hugs as you want each day."
 
Beaming with joy, Grandpa gave Jake an affectionate hug and buoyantly replied,
"Well, I guess that means I'm a rich man."
 
***
 
Printable Issue 1110  Today is Friday, July 20th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1110
"My friend is going through a tough time right now."
 
"I am really going through a bad time."
 
Ever have that said to you; or had it happen to you? Sometimes life sort of skates a long smoothly; sometimes the list of people who we care about and with difficulties is long.
 
But re-read each statement.
 
Did you catch it? "Going through"? Not "here to stay".
 
The 'bad' thing is only temporary; before the 'good' thing is restored, repeated, or changed. We learn, we grow, we go on. And God promises to help, if we let him! We learn a new skill, an additional compassion, a new way of life, a new service, a new trust, or a new perspective.
 
We keep "going through" from this life until the next.
 
In Psalms 23, God promises to be our Shepherd, to allow us to rest, lead us, give us additional strength, and do things as He would do them. He says we have nothing to fear, because we will be provided for and cared for by Him. As a bonus, we get blessings from Him, His goodness and kindness plus a better home which is in eternity.
 
Going through; not stopping. Moving ahead.
 

Psalm 23 

New Living Translation

 
 1 The Lord is my shepherd;
      I have all that I need.
 2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
      he leads me beside peaceful streams.
    3 He renews my strength.
   He guides me along right paths,
      bringing honor to his name.
 4 Even when I walk
      through the darkest valley,
   I will not be afraid,
      for you are close beside me.
   Your rod and your staff
      protect and comfort me.
 5 You prepare a feast for me
      in the presence of my enemies.
   You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
      My cup overflows with blessings.
 6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
      all the days of my life,
   and I will live in the house of the Lord
      forever.
Printable Issue 1111  Today is Monday, July 23rd, 2007; Karen's Korner #1111

An email daily devotional by Joel and Victoria Osteen:

What Do You Look At?

"The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7)

"When you accept Christ, He begins to work in you and through you automatically. He creates you to be a completely new person. No one else around you may notice the change, at least immediately, because man usually only sees the outside of a person, what can be seen and heard. And sometimes, you may not even see or feel the change. But the fact is that God changed you when you became a Christian, and He is still changing you because you belong to Him and you have His power and strength to be a new person! God changes people where it matters—on the inside. Don't be discouraged if others around you don't seem to notice a difference. Don't ever forget that a life-changing transformation has taken place in your heart."

God, thank You for Your life-changing power and strength. Give me eyes to see people the way You see them, from the inside out. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Printable Issue 1112  Today is Tuesday, July 24th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1112
A daily devotional email from Shirley Choat, saved as something special about six months ago:
 
  Since joy is found in the lovely cluster of the fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22, God obviously wants His children to have a cheerful and optimistic outlook on life. Both the Bible and human experience show that a glad heart is a source of inner strength. It gives vitality to the believer's service. But it does more, it adds power to his testimony.
 
  "The joy of the LORD is your strength," -- Nehemiah 8:10.  It will attract sinners to Jesus and make you a victorious and radiant Christian.
 
    Carry the sunlight wherever you go,
    May gladness and joy on your countenance glow;
    Strength for His service your joy will impart
    As love overflows from your radiant heart.
 
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:  A joyous smile adds a lot to a Christian's face value.
Printable Issue 1113  Today is Wednesday, July 25th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1113
This is an experience of Amy Barron (she has a married name, but I don't remember what it is) as told to her mom and written up by Diana Barron. I think you will like it; personal experiences shared are the best:
 
 
Last evening, I was unexpectedly invited to a stage play and a little celebration afterwards with friends.  Dressing up in my best clothes for the theatre, I found a $20.00 bill in a long-unused pocket, and happily left it there as "treat money" for one of my friends.  After all, it was her birthday, and my first girls' night out in well over a year, since becoming the mother of breastfeeding twins.  Feeling light and free, I went to catch my train.
 
"People-watching" as the subway doors opened and closed at each stop, and passengers passed on and off the train, my eye was drawn to an African-American man who stepped into the subway car.  He carried a satchel and there was something compelling about his demeanor, as though he was trying to hold onto his dignity.   
 
The man took a seat not far from me, leaned over his hand and counted a few coins in his palm.  Then, softly, very softly, I barely heard him ask, "Can anyone give me a dollar?  I am just trying to get home to my mother.  I just got out of prison."
 
I stood, reached into my pocket, walked over to where the man sat, and pressed the $20.00 bill into his palm.  I made direct eye contact with the man, and simply said, "God bless you." 
 
Turning to walk back to my seat, I caught the eye of another African-American man who had obviously witnessed the quiet exchange.  He shot me a look that said, "You're just a rich white woman easing your guilt over being so materialistic by giving a poor black man a dollar or two.  He'll probably waste it, with the rest of the money he pockets today, on booze or drugs."
 
I thought to myself, "No, you don't get to make that assumption.  Perhaps this man has been to prison, perhaps not.  If he was in prison as he claimed, and likely he was, he probably did something terrible to get there.  But if he's out now, he's paid his debt to society, and he deserves a second chance.  And if he hasn't been in prison, he's obviously traveling a hard road.  He may spend it on booze or drugs.  He may waste the money on a number of things. Perhaps he will use the money for a sandwich, or a cab ride home to his mother.  It doesn't matter.  No matter what his truth is, he's hurting.  He's a fellow human being and for that reason alone, he deserves kindness, and that's what I offered him."
 
I realized at a deeper level than ever before that I cannot attach myself to outcome.  When I offer a gift - a blessing - it has to be freely given, with no strings attached.  Sometimes, you just do the right thing because it's the right thing to do.  In so doing, a little more kindness lights the world. 
 
And I thought:  This is what's missing in this country, in the world.  We don't feel each other's humanity. 
 
Upon reaching his subway stop, the man picked up his bag and got off the train.  I looked out the window.  He turned for a moment, smiled at me and shot me a finger-gesture. 
 
It was the peace sign.
Printable Issue 1114  Today is Thursday, July 26th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1114
We had a great celebration in our city park last night: the boys were back!! Three Clarion residents, all members of the Iowa National Guard, unit 133. They had been gone to Iraq for nearly two years! Time to celderate their safe return to our midst and thank them for serving us and our country!
 
We are thankful and blessed in so many, many ways!
 
Dear Father in Heaven, thank You for Your love, Your protection, Your care. We are truly blessed by You, by family members, by friends, and by people we sometimes don't even know. Thank You for the plans You have for each of us, just for today. Be with us, guide us, direct us. Help us not to take Your love, guidance, grace, and mercy for granted. We are more blessed than we will ever be able to recognize. You tell us to always be thankful; aid us in that endeavor. We tend to want what we want....when we want it! Help us to want You first; help us to want You more! Thank You, Father God. Amen.
Printable Issue 1115  Today is Friday, July 27th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1115
My oldest sister Jan loves to go to garage sales; some of her 'finds' are really good ones! One thing she enjoys buying are devotional-type flip calendars. She recently gave me a tiny one with a limited number of pages which she purchased for a quarter. It is titled "Special Angels".
 
Here are a couple of entries from that calendar:
 
*  Friendship:  the highest degree of perfection in society.
 
*  If we treat our friends as if they are what they ought to be, we'll help them to become what they are capable of becoming.
 
* A friend is like an angel who holds on to you after others have let go.
 
* The wealthy are not those who have their first dollar, but those who have their first friend.
 
* "Something good can be said about everyone. We only have to say it."      ~ Fulton Oursler
 
*  A friend is like an angel who strengthens you with prayers, blesses you with love, and encourages you with hope.
 
Printable Issue 1116  Today is Monday, July 30th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1116
Saturday, July 28 is an anniversary for our family; it was eight years ago that date that our daughter Merry was killed. So we take a brief walk down memory lane on that day.
 
Some friends gave us a book to write "Merry Memories" by family and friends, which people did and continue to do on a much less frequent basis than when she first died. People were to write memories, but it also turned into a scrapbook of sorts with a few clippings and photos as well.
 
One photo which a friend taped in the book is a Walford United Methodist Church float from the Amana Colonies' Maifest of 1998. The photo of 14 apron-clad float-riders had the theme "Jesus is the Bread Life"; with sub-titles of "Flour Power" and "Knead Christ?" All of them had bowls of bread dough and flour which they at times would toss toward parade watchers. Flour was smeared on most of their smiling faces!
 
Merry and her friends knew who the "Bread" is, where the "Power" source was, and that sometime in their lives they were going to "Knead Christ!" As do/will all of us.
 
The most amazing thing to me as that this life continues to change:  terrorists attack; soldiers might be wounded or killed; government leaders might be good or not; medical diagnosis may or may not be to our liking; family or friends might let us down, and the list goes on......
 
But Jesus and His Kingdom never changes! He always loves; always gives us His gifts of joy, peace, patience......; always imparts His grace, goodness, mercy.....  He never changes; and what He offers is always good and perfect.
 
Never a good time to cut ourselves off from "the Bread of Life" or from the "Knead of Christ!"
Printable Issue 1117  Today is Tuesday, July 31st, 2007; Karen's Korner #1117
A forwarded email from a friend, I can't recall who:
 
A BLUE ROSE

Why do I always have to be the one that starts to do laundry and there's no detergent? I guess it was time for me to do my Dollar Store" run, which included light bulbs, paper towels, trash bags nd Clorox. So off I go.

I scurried around the store, gathered up my goodies, and headedfor the checkout counter only to be blocked in the narrow aisle by a young man that appeared to be about sixteen-years-old. I wasn't
in a hurry, so I patiently waited for the boy to realize that I was there. This was when he waved his hands excitedly in the air and declared in a loud voice, "Mommy, I'm over here." It was obvious now, he was mentally challenged, and also startled as he turned and saw me standing so close to him, waiting to squeeze by. His eyes widened and surprise exploded on his face as I said, "Hey Buddy, what's your name?"
 
My name is Denny and I'm shopping with my mother," he responded proudly.

"Wow," I said, "that's a cool name; I wish my name was Denny, but my name is Hal."

"Hal like Halloween?" he asked.

"Yes," I answered. "How old are you, Denny?

"How old am I now, Mommy?" he asked his mother as she slowly came over from the next aisle.
 
"You're fifteen-years-old Denny; now be a good boy and let the man pass by."

I acknowledged her and continued to talk to Denny for several more minutes about summer, bicycles and school. I watched his brown eyes dance with excitement because he was the center of  someone's attention. He then abruptly turned and headed toward the toy section.

Denny's mom had a puzzled look on her face and thanked me for taking the time to talk with her son. She told me that most people wouldn't even look at him, much less talk to him. I told her that it was my pleasure and then I said something I have no idea where it came from, other than by the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

I told her that there are plenty of red, yellow and pink roses in God's garden, however, "Blue Roses" are very rare and should be appreciated for their beauty and distinctiveness. You see, Denny is a "Blue Rose" and if someone doesn't stop and smell that rose with their heart and touch that rose with their kindness, then they've missed a blessing from God.

She was silent for a second, then with a tear in her eye she asked, "Who are you?"

Without thinking I said, "Oh, I'm probably just a daffodil or maybe even a dandelion, but I sure love living in God's garden."


~~ Pastor Hal Steenson, this real life story took place July 12, 2006